What’s more fun than watching a brand new out-of-the-box PS3 slim-line console slam into a fully-functional Sony Bravia 46-inch LCD TV at 80kmh (50mph)? Well, not a lot, really, unless you get to watch it happen three times. Gizmag was one of only two media outlets invited by Sony Australia to witness the stunt at a vehicle safety testing facility in Melbourne, Victoria. The event was aimed at promoting a forthcoming advertising campaign – buy a Sony Bravia and get a PS3 thrown in free (though not as literally as the ones I witnessed).
The stunt was part of a promotion by Sony where the company is giving away 25,000 PS3 120GB slim-line consoles, valued at AU$499.95, one with every selected Bravia LCD TV model in the lead up to Christmas. How the day of destruction began
The day’s events were shrouded in secrecy – meet at the Autoliv testing facility in inner Melbourne and all will be revealed. I arrived, and after filling out the necessary legal and safety forms, was escorted to very long, narrow warehouse with offices on one side and vehicle shells in racks on the other. Down the middle of the room runs an embedded metal rail and cable, which to me looked a little similar to the cable car mechanism in San Francisco.
At the end of the room sat a specially-constructed sled, which normally would hold a car or parts thereof. This jig is attached to the cable that propels it down to the other end of the room at a predetermined speed – today that would be around 80kmh (50mph) - into a fixed object to simulate a crash. Road safety evaluations are undertaken from the results.
But this morning, things were a little different. In the jig at one end of the room proudly sat a brand new PS3 slim-line console. At the other end, some 60m away (approx. 200ft), fixed to a rigid frame, awaiting its fate like a firing squad victim, stood a Sony Bravia KDL46X 3100 Full HD LCD TV – sans blindfold.
It was then explained to us that today we would witness a 3.2kg (7lb) PS3 meeting a stationary Bravia at 50mph head on – not once but three times … three different PS3s, three different Bravias.
After many final adjustments, checks and double-checks with targets, super slo-mo cameras and computers, we were herded into an adjacent viewing room to witness the carnage from behind what I can assume was bullet-proof glass windows.
Warning lights twirled, sirens sounded and then the dull whir of the sled traversing the room filled our senses. Hitting top speed in a matter of seconds, it stopped instantly some 3m (10ft) short of the target, while the PS3 continued on its first and final journey headlong into the hapless Bravia.
Ghoulish grins came over all and sundry involved in the destruction, including engineers who had participated in hundreds of simulated car crashes in the past.
We left the safety of our hidey-hole to examine the damage first hand. Not as spectacular as you might have thought, but devilishly delightful all the same. The Bravia had a gaping hole in its screen and thin glass fragments held together by a black film lay on the concrete floor around it. The PS3 had fared quite well, only a couple of cracks and missing a connection cover. It looked broken, but not destroyed ... even though the technicians assured us it was.
After a review of the footage, the full impact and level of destruction was truly revealed. No wonder the Sony guys nodded their approval. And then, to our amusement, stated: “Right, let’s do it again.”
And so a new PS3 was unpacked, and another Bravia bolted into place. This time, though, the PS3 was ‘loosened’ a bit to enhance the damage on what would be its Titanic-like maiden voyage.
This time, the result was more spectacular with a piece of the PS3 actually embedding itself in the screen. No use sending these items to the repair shop.
The third run was on a par with the first and we all agreed that the ‘doctored’ second run had been the best.
So, the moral of this story is … well, there isn’t one except that it’s fun to watch things getting smashed, I suppose. I must admit though, I did think long and hard about how I could use that facility to ‘crash test’ a few things.
The Sony promotion is, at this stage, only available Australia-wide, but the video of the results are universal.