The Digital Archaeology project was a challenging task. I had never taken a piece of technology apart before, so I didn’t know exactly how I was supposed to identify and gather information on the components of our Samsung Epic 4G phone. Our group began by grabbing a screw driver and diving right into it.
The disassembly process was fascinating. I enjoyed revealing the inner workings of the smartphone. It shed some light on the complexity of something that is used daily and often taken for granted. During this process, my group made a few educated guesses on the identification of certain parts. We were later able to accurately identify several components after watching this video.
Once the phone was completely taken apart, we divided the parts among ourselves and set out to do our research. This was the most frustrating part of the project. I delved into the rear camera, front camera, light sensor and earpiece speaker. The front camera and light sensor had the phone’s model number on it, along with a logo. I tried searching for the logo and wasn’t able to find any information on it. Google searches really only led me to websites selling replacement parts. Instead of searching specifically for the parts, I found more information when looking generally into Samsung.
Samsung’s website provides general info on manufacturers and overseas research & development centers. I tried searching for each company’s name that was listed, and came across Samsung Semiconductor Israel R&D Center Ltd., which specializes in CMOS image sensors used in mobile phones. While this information didn’t really tell me much about the actual camera models used in our group’s smartphone, I was really excited to find a possible piece to the puzzle. Perhaps the wiring inside of the camera was developed at that location.
I didn’t find much on the light sensor aside from its purpose. However, I discovered a possible source for the earpiece speaker through my groupmate, who researched the antennae components. The piece she looked at was marked by EM Tech, a company that specializes in micro/one way speakers in South Korea.
My group members were able to find more information on several other components. The Lithium Ion battery that powered our device was manufactured in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China. The headphone jack and motherboard were manufactured by Doosung Tech in South Korea. The headphone jack is composed of plastic and copper while the motherboard is composed of fiberglass and copper.
This project led to many assumptions when trying to connect our device to possible locations. It was very hard to find solid, straightforward answers about the inner components, but the search itself yielded the discovery of many other aspects. If we had more time, I would have liked to try and contact the companies we found to see if they could’ve provided more details.