Campus Life

Sidebar: We Shot It

We lost our first iPod Shuffle. To keep the second one from getting away, we decided to shoot it. As it turned out, the iPod’s lightweight aluminum case proved no defense against an expert marksman’s rifle.

MIT pistol coach Will Hart Jr., Edgerton Center assistant director James W. Bales, and Tech photographer Eric D. Schmiedl ’09 got together to do some high-speed strobe bullet photography. The .22-caliber round used to shoot the iPod, pictured below, is just about the same width as the popular music player.

We had one scientific question in mind: Will it look cool when we shoot it?

After a five-hour setup and dozens of test shots, the answer was: Yes. The photographs you see are actually double exposures — the stationary iPod, illuminated by a camera’s “ready” lights, is overlaid with the moving iPod, lit by a high-speed strobe triggered by the bullet’s sonic shockwave.

The poor iPod was pulverized where it was shot, with the bullet apparently intersecting the battery. A surprising amount of circuitry survived, and from the outside you almost can’t tell that the case has been ripped to shreds.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for protection in a firefight, don’t bother with the iPod Shuffle. (Maybe you should reach for a Zune instead.)

—Michael McGraw-Herdeg