back to article Laptop shoots spike into owner's hand

Watching DVDs may be bad for your health - specially if the drive on your laptop decides to shoot you. William Warner suffered horrendous hand injuries after his notebook spat out a sharp sliver of metal that pierced his palm, the New Zealand Herald reports. William Warner injury The component in question was the optical …


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  1. Old Handle


    Damn! I know DVD technology was evil but I had no idea... DRM is really getting extreme.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... and that's just what happens

      when you try and play an out of region DVD.


  2. Heironymous Coward

    just four words: RoTM

    1. Anomalous Cowturd


      Those are letters, not words.


    2. cloudgazer

      Won't somebody think of the DVD drives?

      Maybe it wasn't evil, maybe it just REALLY didn't want to suffer through Van Helsing again?

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Probably a "Ninja Edition" of the Notebook

    "the incredible rarity of such an accident"

    So did it happen more than once?

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Is that

    The Jesus laptop?

  5. Ed Fingleton

    But what was he watching?


  6. I'm Brian and so's my wife


    Or it didn't hap- oh, wait...

    1. Elmer Phud

      Yup, Jesus looked at the drive, saw it was full of porn and thought 'Right, that'll keep him off the five knuckle shuffle for a while'

  7. My Alter Ego

    Very disappointed*

    I thought this would be about some crazy South African defence system retrofitted to the machine.

    * And scared, my laptop's a Toshiba.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I call fake or rather "misreported".

  9. Anonymous Coward


    I think there's some bullshitting going on here on the users side....

  10. Thomas 4

    A least Toshiba are making amends

    Let's give them a big hand, ladies and gents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Its clearly a self induced injury

      So why the downvotes??

      Is my stink-sack overactive??


    2. TimeMaster T


      Until someone can explain how it happened I am skeptical.

      I've striped down dozens of CD/DVD drives and have yet to encounter anything in them that could generate enough force to shoot something that big through a persons hand.

      Toshiba's statement and offer is most likely a move to limit bad PR rather than confirmation that they think it really happened as claimed.

      Sounds more like a money grab, like the woman who claimed she found a finger in a bowl of Wendy's chilli and sued for "emotional distress". Turned out the digit belonged to a friend of her husband and had been been severed in a construction accident a few days prior to her ordering anything at Wendy's.

      <This opinion subject to change as new information is gathered.>

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There is just no way this could happen. The springs used to eject a DVD tray are simply not powerful enough to propel a piece of metal (which itself must somehow detach itself from the rest of the mechanism) to pierce skin.

    I call bullshit for a bogus claim.

  12. Pyros

    Look on the bright side.

    I'd bite the hand that feeds you if it kept putting in Carrot Top DVDs into your drive...

  13. Captain Scarlet Silver badge


    Alice from (14-12-2009) has obviously angered electical devices everywhere

  14. Iain Thomas

    Rotational momentum...

    At a guess, the spinning edge of the disc would be the only thing in the drive with enough kinetic energy to stab someone...

    Countdown to Toshiba blaming a faulty/damaged disc?

  15. Armus Squelprom

    I smell a dodgy compo-seeker....

    This 11cm piece of steel passed through the dvd drive's casing, and still had enough kinetic energy to pierce the guy's hand? I can't think of any component in a dvd drive has the capacity to fire a missile with that sort of force - 20lb ft minimum.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      20ft Lbs?

      Less than that, a legally powered air gun at 12ft lbs will go clean through the palm and a pistol at 6ft lbs, with a dart, would also easily penetrate flesh.

      1. Silverburn

        @ Cornz

        ...I'm scared you know this type of information...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          As a legal pest killer its stuff i have to know!!!!!

          Can tell you quite a few LD50s as well if you like to really scare you!!

  16. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Did It...

    ...Transform into a walker first?

    Be sure power is off before talking trash about your computer.

  17. David Dawson

    CD spinning

    I had a cd disintegrate at top speed inside the drive.

    It blew chunks of disc and parts of the drive out the front of the enclosure. Wrecking it all and scattering debris for a few feet.

    The disc was a copy of battlefield 1942, which i was playing at the time, giving surprisingly good effects!

    It was a damaged disc, having a crack in the transparent inner portion. Maybe something similar here?

  18. Smithson

    Have YOU had an accident with your laptop? Then call... Laptops Direct! No, wait...

    A nasty injury with possibly permanent effects according to the source article, but... I just can't reconcile the internal construction of a laptop DVD drive with this kind of injury. He was apparently closing the drawer when it happened, so there was no mechanical movement happening inside the drive at the time. An 11cm piece of metal suddenly flying out with force enough to IMPALE the user at that, or any other point, just doesn't make any sense. Does it?

  19. BatCat

    Of course...

    ... he didn't sustain the injury by violently slamming the disk tray in with the palm of his hand did he?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The exact same thing happened to a mate of mine, with a Battlefield 1942 disk...

      I started mounting mine as ISOs not long after. I worried for my man sack.

    2. Steven Roper
      Thumb Up

      Re: CD spinning

      Assuming a 52x read speed, and with the normal speed of a CD at 300 rpm, let's do some calculations here:

      52 x 300rpm = 15,600rpm

      120mm (diameter) * pi = 376.991 mm circumference (we'll say 377 for simplicity)

      377 mm * 15,600 rpm = 5,881,200 mm/min

      5,881,200 * 60 = 357,872,000 mm/hr

      = 357.872 km/h or ~ 220 mph for our American friends.

      So the outer edge of a CD spinning at 52x read speed is travelling at pretty much 360 km/h, about the speed of a paintball pellet. And I know those things sting like hell if they hit bare flesh, and they're simply gelatin capsules. A sharp shard of hard plastic travelling at 360 km/h is going to go through flesh without too much difficulty, as is any tray rail or loose component it catches on its way out.


    3. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      The title is optional.

      Windows XP exploded in my CD drive a while back. The noise it made was unbelievable and I nearly shat myself.

    4. Peter 48


      looking at the location of the injury, it is at the exact point where your hand would be if you were closing the tray with the palm of your hand. If he had been closing it at normal speed and temperament then a faulty tray would have at the most scratched him before he would have noticed and stopped applying force. However if he had slammed the tray shut out of frustration or anger then a faulty tray could easily have led to such an injury as the force and speed of said action would have been too great for him to react and stop in time. I suspect he accidentally applied a slight upward force which would have bent the tray upwards, dislodging it from the rail and shifting the plastic coverplate out of the way whilst jarring the rail in place and stopping it from retracting (cue CSI style slo-mo animation)

      ***Stares into camera, makes quippy remark and dons sunglasses before turning away ***

  20. JPD

    Maybe it was really a Dawson's Creek Trapper Keeper...

    ...protecting it's "human" owner by sending spikes through the hands of an android trying to steal it...

  21. The Infamous Grouse

    Ultimate anti-theft device

    Blimey. Couple this with the Prey software and you have a winner. Just make sure to turn the webcam on remotely before activation, to record the perp's reaction for posterity. And for YouTube.

  22. Steve X

    I smell a scam

    Who in their right mind is going to leave a jagged spike of metal in their hand while they look for a camera to get a suitable photo? Wouldn't most people's first instinct be to just swear, yank it out, and run for the first-aid kit?

    1. David Dawson

      I would. I feel the need to document my own injuries for posterity. A glass shard (stem of a wine glass) impaling the foot and some amazing burn blisters are in my collection so far....

    2. Anonymous John

      Wouldn't most people's first instinct be to just swear, yank it out

      Probably, but it's not a good idea. You might do more damage. And he may have had a camera-phone handy.

      I can't see how it could possibly happen though.

    3. Franklin

      "Who in their right mind is going to leave a jagged spike of metal in their hand while they look for a camera to get a suitable photo?"

      Me. If some product I was using failed in some bizarre manner that left me injured. you can bet I'm pulling out my cell phone and taking a picture, no question. I've dealt with manufacturers refusing to honor warranty claims on clearly in-warranty problems. There's no way I'd count on a manufacturer ever paying an injury claim without photographic evidence.

    4. TimeMaster T


      Picture might have been taken at the Hospital.

      And not everyone would just pull it out, they might be smart enough to consider that it might have gone through a largish blood vessel and that they had best leave it to a doctor to remove.

  23. skeptical i

    What DVD was in the drive? Maybe the laptop acted in self-defense?

    It may be /possible/ that the metal stick thing got misaligned and jammed against something, and then went "thwang" when it unstuck ... but ... enough to pierce skin enough to warrant more than cursing and a medicinal beer? Doubtful.

  24. Matt Brigden

    Dodgy as hell

    I have repaired computers for 20 years and have seen one case of a shattered disc in all that time . However I have never seen a laptop dvd drive do anything remotely like this . Smacks of user abuse to me . Only time I have ever seen track holders loose is when the drive has been slammed or kicked and the tray ripped out . But there is no way possible for this to happen in normal use .

    A bit like the screens that crack when you turned the laptop on leaving a pen shaped crack right where the gap between the number keys and function keys sit . Or the mysterious sticky residue in the laptops that mysteriously wont turn on one morning ,

    1. Kevin 6

      ditto on all.

      cept I seen 2 shattered disk both were bootlegs on the cheapest CD-r's around

      but still the drives had no damage done.

      While people are right about the force of the CD's more than that of a paintball they are forgetting to take into account the mass, and air resistance.

      I've blown CD-R's up hooking them up to lathes, and slowly spun them up till they exploded(did it after the 1st CDR I that self destructed in the drive that I fixed) just to see how fast the could spin before failure. I was hit with the shrapnel in my arm and didn't even get a scratch.

      The only idea I can come up with on this one is that the magnets flew off the rotor, and hit a piece of metal (like maybe one of the lasers stabilizers), and potentially shot that through the plastic part.

  25. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Hehe, never thought I'd see the day

    Back in the nineties, playing two player Doom over a serial cable with one of the wires switched... having been brought up on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Superman (III?) and Aliens, it did occur to me what would happen if me PC developed an evil intelligence. I figured at the time the worst it could do to me was to bruise my knuckle by opening its CD-ROM drive at an opportune moment.

    I slept easy.

    I have, however, at times been minded to handle computer equipment with something more than 'minimum force'... should I have impaled myself whilst doing so, it would have been my own daft fault.

    Anyone with imagination care to come with a mechanical sequence of events to explain this gentleman's alleged experience? eg "The fast spinning thingy jammed and converted its kinetic energy into the rubber mounts of the doowhatsit as potential, building up until it burst free of its retaining doofah and... "

  26. Arbuthnot Darjeeling

    Once I put

    what turned out to be a cracked disc into a dvd drive. It spun up and kept spinning faster until there was a bang like a gunshot, the disc was turned to tiny pieces and dust.

    Everything except the finest dust was contained by the drive door. No component of the drive detatched. This wasn't a laptop and I didn't try finding out if the drive would read anything afterwards, but it's hard for me to imagine the door failing to contain any component of the drive unless the disc wasn't inserted correctly.

    Who wants to volunteer to reproduce the circumstances of the alleged incident?

  27. Medium Dave

    I call Shenanigans.

    I'd entertain the possibility of a chunk of disintegrating disc hitting your hand, but this is ridiculous. For one thing, he says he was trying to close the tray - which means the drive wasn't spinning, so no source of energy there. Moreover, this bit of drive (which looks suspiciously like a nail in the photo, btw) manages to spring out and hit the ball of his thumb? I'll leave it to readers to experiment with inserting discs to see if there's a way that becomes possible, but it certainly isn't anything natural.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's customer service for you

    It seems unlikely to me that a DVD drive could shoot anyone in this manner. Nonetheless, Toshiba's response to the complaint reminded me of Monty Python's Parrot Sketch:

    "The Norwegian Blue prefers kippin' on its back! Remarkable bird, idn't it, squire? Lovely plumage!"

  29. Graham Marsden

    "What's this one, 'spring surprise'?"

    "Ah - now, that's our speciality - covered with darkest creamy chocolate. When you pop it in your mouth steel bolts spring out and plunge straight through-both cheeks. "

    Monty Python - Whizzo Chocolates sketch :-)

  30. Dodgy Pilot

    I think this is an April fool's joke. Yes, I know it isn't April, but with the time/date server going awol last week problems like this were bound to happen.

  31. Rob 22

    PC-induced injury

    Also, I once nipped a small amount of finger flesh in a DVD tray when I pushed it closed (the mechanism had failed) and created a small blood-blister. It really hurt.

    New to the pc admin lark, I had balanced a PS/2 Tower (that's an old computer, kids, not a video console) on a soft-seated office chair, it wobbled, fell and it scraped down my shin. Now that did hurt.

    That geezer made this up. This never happened.

  32. Anonymous Coward 15

    I'd be interested to know

    if alcohol was involved.

  33. Anonymous Coward 15

    And I thought my Zip drive had a lot of ejecting force!

  34. Andrew Glass

    User error

    I don't believe there is anything in a DVD drive mechanism which has enough force to fire out a projectile with enough force to pierce flesh and damage bone as the original article suggests. Even if the drive was spinning as seems unlikely if he was in the process of closing the tray.

    The piece of metal is the track which the tray rests on when it comes out of the body of the laptop.

    I guess the scenario is this:

    He puts DVD in drive. Tries to close the drive tray. It sticks so he give it a real thump with the palm of his hand. Most of the tray goes back into the laptop but because of the force applied jamming the track (or because of previous damage) the track remains out and his palm is impaled on it.

    Nothing came shooting out of the laptop, quite the opposite if anything...

  35. J. Cook Silver badge

    Just read the article.

    ... and yeah, i'm calling it a case of brute force and ignorance. I've had laptop optical drives stick open on me in a similar manner and require some light 'persuasion' to go back in, but this guy apparently used far too much force.

    While I also applaud Toshiba's efforts with the new laptop, they really don't owe him anything- it's clearly customer abuse and not covered under any warranty.

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