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David Emery

Cell Phone Popcorn Trick Revealed

By July 9, 2008

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Screenshot of YouTube video: Cell phone popcornYou knew it was a hoax, but were you able to figure out how it was done? One theory held that there must have been a heating element under the table. Another posited a hidden microwave transmitter. Yet another concluded it could only have been done with special effects. Now, for the first time, Cardo Systems CEO Abraham Glezerman reveals how the illusion of cell phone popcorn was created for the viral videos that took the Internet by storm. From CNN: Phone Popcorn Secrets Revealed

Previously: Cell Phone Popcorn Hoax

See also: How to Cook an Egg with Your Cell Phone


July 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm
(1) Jane says:

I tried this w/3 cellphones and it actually made the popcorn hot, so it’s not a hoax!

March 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm
(2) Annmotus says:

What phones did you use

July 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm
(3) james jones says:

your stupid

June 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm
(4) Gary says:

Hey stupid it’s …

“you’re stupid”

as in the contraction of “you are” and not “your” which has a different meaning.

Were you not listening in the 3rd grade?

August 12, 2011 at 6:44 pm
(5) trey says:

hahahaahha…I love your reply

September 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm
(6) Caleb Cottier says:

Who remembers anything from third grade?

July 18, 2008 at 6:15 pm
(7) Stephenie LaMaina says:

My son, 10 years old, and I tried it with one cell phone and it did not work. While waiting for the rest of our family to be at home (to try it with three cell phones) we talking about. Since it takes about t 2 minutes to pop a bag of popcorn we wondered how long it would take to do 4 pieces. The first 2 poped at about 1:33, the third at about 1:46, and the fourth still had not poped after 2 minutes. Since cell phone don’t ring for that long we figured it had to be a hoax.

June 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm
(8) Mr.M says:

that’s right! Moreover, a microwave oven output power is about 600W (enclusured in its cavity), while cell phones delivers less than 1W (disperse in the air).

July 25, 2008 at 6:27 am
(9) Jim says:

We can only hope your head pops when you use your phone as well. That would be good for the gene pool.

August 2, 2008 at 12:23 am
(10) Jim in Hartford says:

You gotta love how the CEO stands there and lies about never intending the video to foster a fear of holding cell phones next to your head. He says it was made to be funny. His company makes blue-tooth headsets! They’re hoping that a fear of holding the phone to your ear will make you look into buying an earpiece! What a bald-face liar!

August 9, 2008 at 6:51 am
(11) zen says:

Very sad Jane

August 9, 2008 at 11:16 pm
(12) Candace says:

It makes me smile to think about all the pot heads who all sat around trying to pop popcorn with a couple of phones! = )

August 10, 2008 at 8:53 pm
(13) john doe says:

I give credit for those who tried, at least it seperates the courious from the sheep.. and those so quick to judge, be carefull, judgement can roll both ways from the outside.

August 13, 2008 at 5:09 pm
(14) Samurai_Master says:

Jim – You one funny guy. You can make whole room of peoples heads pop!

August 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm
(15) Trippin Billi says:

Your Stupid? Or You’re Stupid? Hmmmm Let me see… who is stupid?

August 20, 2008 at 11:19 am
(16) Sarah says:

Funny James Jones that you write “your stupid” when the proper way to write it is “YOU’RE STUPID!” Now who looks… well… you know…

August 26, 2008 at 10:53 am
(17) DJC3 says:

Jane, James Jones is wrong, you’re not stupid … you’re an idiot.

James Jones, you’re stupid!

August 29, 2008 at 5:09 pm
(18) 6410 says:

I believe the term for Jane is ignorant fabricator – Ignorant in that she doesn’t understand scientifically that none of what is described can happen, fabricator in that she shamelessly admits witnessing this…ah, throw in idiot for not understanding that most people with common sense don’t believe this anyways, and will view her as an ignorant fabricator ;-)

September 2, 2008 at 1:48 am
(19) Rastus says:

amazing how many really clever people have read this – I have a new Nokia phone and after 5 minutes talking the thing get’s damn hot. Gotta be a reason – heat means energy and now with 3G pumping massive bandwidth I tried the popcorn trick as well. So I am stupid as well (or an idiot depending on your definition). But I feel less stupid finding out it was a hoax than all you clever people who just knew that it would never work. Who knew that your mobile phones are safe, or the telecomms industry/govt would intervene. Just like tobacco isn’t harmfull or addictive ;-) I’ll happily continue with being stupid in your definition.

September 23, 2008 at 10:23 am
(20) Rocket Scientist says:

A microwave outputs 600 to 1000 watts of energy into a closed cavity at a frequency that causes the water molecules (also fat and sugar) in food to vibrate and heat up.

Cell phones have a maximum of 0.3 watts and are on the wrong frequency to vibrate dipole molecules and the antennas are designed to spread the signal in all directions.

Of course it doesn’t work.

October 14, 2008 at 8:42 am
(21) Harry_Pot_Head says:

You are really a rocket scientist …are n’t you ? at least you talk like one …. But the rocket only takes off after you smoke few joints….

October 16, 2008 at 12:58 pm
(22) Dave says:

Larry King did a show on the potential link between cell phones and brain cancer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVtTnKIwXu4). Credible doctors acknowledge a possible correlation, and Johnnie Cochran’s widow believes his excessive cell phone use caused his fatal brain cancer. Are cell phone users safe? The jury is still out.

October 24, 2008 at 10:45 am
(23) Hank6 says:

Oh, whatever Rocket Scientist! Right in the middle of all of these kids questioning each others intelligence, you had to explain it scientifically?

I rarely use my cell phone but I do try to keep it away from my crotch when not in use. The phone. Not my crotch. And I never did believe the video in the first place. I’m too smert to fall for that! ;-)

October 27, 2008 at 1:09 pm
(24) Jan Steinman says:

Rocket Scientist says: “Cell phones have a maximum of 0.3 watts and are on the wrong frequency to vibrate dipole molecules and the antennas are designed to spread the signal in all directions.”

Almost right. Cell phones have adaptive power settings, and can actually pump out several watts in weak signal areas. And while it is true that microwave ovens are optimized for the ~2.4GHz frequency at which water molecules vibrate, many early microwaves operated at 900MHz, only slightly above the frequency that cell phones use — it’s just somewhat less efficient.

But it is certainly true that cell phone antennas are “omnidirectional,” and do not provide a focused beam of energy.

Sorry for the nit-picking. But since we’re getting technical, might as well be accurate. (I was a radio frequency electrical engineer, and have had an amateur radio license for nearly 40 years.)

October 27, 2008 at 2:25 pm
(25) Bryan Parsons says:

I heard that Bluetooth causes tooth decay… ends up it was a Colgate commercial.

October 30, 2008 at 3:28 pm
(26) outside the box says:

I couldn’t get it to work with cell phones, but i tried it with three blue tooths and they caught fire.

November 3, 2008 at 6:27 am
(27) igal orbach says:

this is how it’s done!!!

November 10, 2008 at 4:22 pm
(28) Troy says:

Some people just have too much time on there hands!!!! Maybe you should just sit down and read a book about RF (radio frequency) theory.

November 12, 2008 at 9:24 am
(29) kappa says:

I love the comment from Bryan Parsons – now that was funny, AND smart.

November 18, 2008 at 2:44 pm
(30) Thor says:

Used 10 cell phones and cooked a whole bag. Yum. Yum.

November 21, 2008 at 1:39 pm
(31) ibanker-ex says:

you all are stupid.., this is a HOAX!!!

January 5, 2009 at 5:56 pm
(32) Stoned says:

It works after a few joints -.-

January 13, 2009 at 7:10 am
(33) skidee27 says:

I have a real problem with corporations basing advertising on fear-mongering, blatant lies. Yes…it was funny but that does NOT excuse the motivation or the reality of what it was. I’ll make certain that my next headset is not from that company.

January 18, 2009 at 11:16 pm
(34) szamboti says:

Funny what some folks will believe in. Some people insist that there is a god. No less hard to believe. :)

May 6, 2011 at 10:56 am
(35) kasjdhl says:

that will be because there is a God you tard!!

February 5, 2009 at 11:44 am
(36) Psych-Girl says:

This CAN work, but the popcorn really has to want to change.

February 7, 2009 at 9:34 am
(37) pedron says:

We put 20 cell phones together and did a roast!

February 24, 2009 at 9:57 pm
(38) Warmonger says:

Let’s take all the old cell phones people turn in and drop them on Iraq then call them all simultaneously

March 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm
(39) Noula says:

for thanksgiving, we wait until our whole family is there, then we cook our turkey with our cell phones. It s a great tradition. Brings the whole crew together!!

March 13, 2009 at 9:22 pm
(40) greeley says:

James Jones 2nd comment from the top. The phrase is”You’re stupid.” So I guess your stupid.

March 31, 2009 at 1:26 am
(41) jason says:

Table + popcorn + a hidden hot plate underneath it + stupid gullible friends = prank achieved

April 4, 2009 at 4:26 pm
(42) Hue Mann says:

To, ‘Jim in Hartford’, Lighten up Buckie! We get lied to worse than this in any single hour of prime time Television. The mindset of our society is seemingly bent on adopting a hawkish, take no prisoner, confrontational mentality. Can’t find it in my heart to condemn a man trying to market his product. At least he made it interesting.

Marketing has changed radically since the days when subliminal seducers sniped at us from Madison Avenue art work in the ’60′s. Now anyone with a decent processor, a $300 video card and trial version software can do the same without oversight or scrutiny. There’s online tutorials covering upper level skills that’ll let ya render like the big boys.

April 27, 2009 at 11:17 pm
(43) lizzie says:

Cell phones may or may not pop corn but the surely DO emit dangerous radiation. Just today I had a lady who lost her son to cancer. He worked long hours with a cell phone headset in his ear and the cancer was concentrated in that same ear. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I’m not taking any chances. She’s convinced based on doctors reports and is telling everybody she sees wearing a headset about it. Sad story.

May 21, 2009 at 3:36 am
(44) RR&MG says:

Non-believers beware. We had two mobile phones sitting on a table together and they rang at the same time by chance and nuked our unsuspecting cat that was walking by… well ok scared the crap out of him…

June 3, 2009 at 8:12 pm
(45) llm says:

Hey, I had a great laugh reading all these comments. I’m a teacher and I intend to use the video and the comments about it to teach my students how to “question everything” they see on the internet. I figured it wouldn’t work but wanted my students try it for themselves. Thanks for the great scientific explanations and information.

June 12, 2009 at 3:42 am
(46) OutOfTheBlue says:

I am not surprised about the possible repercussions of using a mobile phone on a continuous basis. Yes it was a hoax but why have serveral authorities including the French, Canadian , Russian banned mobile phone use to under 16′s and why do mobile phone providers have to publish SAR ratios if their is no health concern.

Then we can start on Mobile phone masts…

June 30, 2009 at 1:02 am
(47) psych_boy says:

comment 30 by psych-girl, love it. Use focus group discussions to have kernels internalize their feelings of inadequacy and anomie, then channel that towards a desire to burst forth in a massive trans-substantiation. They will pop! No need for weed.

September 4, 2009 at 7:19 am
(48) Luier says:

Laptops and WIFI networks emit a lot more radiation and nobody cares… yet

September 8, 2009 at 12:23 am
(49) FoodCrave says:

If you send picture with text while doing this experiment, popcorn will have buttery flavor

September 8, 2009 at 10:35 am
(50) willer says:

Rocket Scientist is right, why it is hot? of course same reason as why your digital camera batteries is hot after continue using it for hours? cell phone magnetic wave is enough to light on the LED that requires 8-25mA, but not enough to heat the popcorn and make it pop.

September 13, 2009 at 11:30 pm
(51) blah blah blah says:

erm… the reason for cell phones (as well as any other portable electronic device from a few years back) getting hot after continuous usage is low efficiency of the previous generation batteries (NiMH technology had its efficiency around 50%). That heating has almost nothing to do with the radio waves. It is just the energy lost as heat when the battery uses its stored energy!!

October 3, 2009 at 12:09 pm
(52) Maurice says:

You know, someone sent me the cell phone/popcorn video. I watched about half of it and started having doubts. First, it seemed like there were a collection of these videos put together, ironically with the same quality of video in each but different ethnicities in the groups. That was the first flag. Then the fact that it takes at least 2 minutes to pop popcorn in a microwave but seconds from 4 cell phones…just silly. So I immediately did research online through a simple search to see if there was a hoax to it, or better yet, to confirm my suspicions and there it was. Funny that something like this would spawn anything more than a chuckle and maybe some simple research to see how they did it. And a Bluetooth headset company investing in the video – how absolutely gullible could these companies believe all of us are? Maybe I’m giving “Us” too much credit, but I would think this would be more of a marketing backfire than anything when found out. I guess they figure it’s better to bet on ignorance than insight…

October 9, 2009 at 4:52 pm
(53) inverse137 says:

Jane, you’re not the sharpest tool in the she, are you?

February 10, 2010 at 5:24 pm
(54) wayne schmurtz jr. says:

Howdee dudes, this here is Wayne Schmurtz.jr from schmucktech inc. We’s wanting to tell yawls that pesticides an cell phones an nukes is good for ya.

Nerds. Or look up “High IQ idiots”.

February 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm
(55) Concerned Person says:

We all know that cell phones run on microwaves. And we all believe (notice that i didn’t say know) that microwave ovens don’t leak radiation (in the form of microwaves).

If a microwave oven doesn’t allow radiation to escape (or leak radiation), then a cell phone signal shouldn’t make a cell phone ring if you put it inside of a microwave oven.

Unfortunately a cell phone does ring inside of a microwave oven. With that said, the real concern should be how much microwave radiation is your microwave oven sending throughout your house.

February 23, 2010 at 6:34 pm
(56) poppa corn says:

Funny you can always tell which sites and which comments come from folks that are get paid to post or who like to run to the defense of mega billion dollar corporations at the expense of public health issues. Call Microsoft, they’re always hiring and could use a few unsuspecting mouthpieces that just need a quarter popped into the back of their heads. Oops, I said the “popped” word…

Any other topic would have had a mediocre responses and mostly one sided as to public health concerns, but this time they came out in full force. It’s the hit dogs that howl!

March 15, 2010 at 2:45 pm
(57) AMused says:

This was great fun! please keep the comments coming :)

March 18, 2010 at 10:44 am
(58) Bill says:

I have enjoyed the funny comments. Thanks for the chuckles.
However, cell phones don’t use microwave signals. They are on a lower frequency than microwave signals. Microwave signals do not go through the glass as they are a larger wavelength than the holes in the shield in the glass. Cell phone signals are a different wavelength and can go through the holes. I can’t verify the effectiveness of the seal on your microwave’s door though, so you could have some leakage there. Do some research and you will see. I tried to state it very elementary as to not get too nerdy in my answer, so no need to trash me for how I said it. I don’t care.

March 30, 2010 at 1:29 am
(59) Inclined Plan Scientist says:


unfortunately, with this thread, everyone must be trashed in one way or the other. To be a bit different I am giving you a virtual wedgie, and putting you in a virtual locker. You may now go on to start a dot.com company and make billions of dollars, while I take a job as a janitor…

April 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm
(60) Toby says:

@ #2 your what?

April 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm
(61) lil says:

Mobile phone use has been linked to brain tumors and government recommendation is that they are safe for the first 10 years of use….after that say ta ra to…….oh, hold on……what year is it?

January 14, 2011 at 9:48 am
(62) chad blanchard says:

this does work … I do it everyday !!! :P
It is very exciting ! :P

January 14, 2011 at 9:51 am
(63) chad blanchard says:

This workss ! , I do everyday !!!
its very exciting !

January 14, 2011 at 9:54 am
(64) CHRIS RIMMER ! says:


January 14, 2011 at 9:56 am
(65) Isaac Peters says:

i am stupid !!!

January 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm
(66) Cell Phone Protection says:

Ok, so this is a hoax. Doesn’t solve the question whether cell phones can harm us or not!

February 15, 2011 at 11:35 am
(67) taylor rain says:

its okay everyone, I’m on crack too!!

February 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm
(68) Sunshine says:

This so funny to read all these comments. a cell phone can’t make popcorn pop its not possibe.!! the only reason most people try it is to see if it really is fake or not ! but just to let you all know its very FAKE !!! keep up the funny comments :)

May 11, 2011 at 8:54 am
(69) a deafie says:

Can they PLEASE provide a transcript or captions for that CNN video clip on how they filmed the hoax? I wanna know how they did the trick photography! And am a stinkin’ lipreader.

October 22, 2011 at 11:41 am
(70) unamused says:

Well… why is everyone fighting and name calling over a topic like this. Yes the cellphone popcorn trick is a hoax, a simple funny/manipulative hoax. hahaha, ha. Thats it. Its not a bunch of adults having a post war about how stupid one another is. Seriously, your gonna fight over popcorn and cellphones -_-.

December 7, 2011 at 5:40 pm
(71) Alyazidi says:

“October 22, 2011 at 11:41 am(70) unamused says:
Well… why is everyone fighting and name calling over a topic like this.”


March 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm
(72) Mrs. anomanous says:

IT WORKS!!! 4 all u geeks out there who think it doesnt work…. I HAVE PROOF! i was with my friends cuz im doing this as a science project…. and we had 4 cell phones- 4 pieces of popcorn. three popped because:
there is a radiation wave that flows and creates a current and that radiation goes through as ultraviolet heat which will slowly cook the popcorn causing it to ”pop”. If u have about 5 cell phones and 5 kernels, one is bound to pop.
Because the small amount of microwave radiation that is given off by the phones when a minimum of 4 phones are placed around the popcorn there is enough microwave radiation to amount to that of a microwave oven.

August 7, 2012 at 11:27 pm
(73) Slawek says:

all cell phones suppose to meet important requirement called SAR – Specific Absorption Rate. why? to know, that they will not harm your body. cell phones does not radiate only through their antennas, which were visible in old days. in nineties cases of brain tumor from extensive usage of cell phone were reported. cell phone cooks but in much slower rate than microwave oven… in all experiments with eggs and corn one important factor was missing: what was the power setting of the phones!!! power varies with the distance to the cell tower…

August 27, 2012 at 5:08 am
(74) ben says:

help me, this, this is, true or not.yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

June 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm
(75) nj kbhb says:

We got a grammer nazi on our heels guys.

January 10, 2014 at 8:57 pm
(76) Chad says:

Funny shtuff!

January 11, 2014 at 3:40 am
(77) averageguy says:

Nothing to see here folks, move along

January 12, 2014 at 5:24 pm
(78) jan says:

A lot of you mention exploding heads, and the video being marketing for bluetooth headsets…But what about men carrying their phones in their pockets. A few other things might explode as well….

January 13, 2014 at 9:04 am
(79) Outcast says:

I knew it was a hoax. I use to put a couple of cell phone under my nuts for hours in hopes I would kill all my sperm and needless to say after years of trying and 3 kids later in didn’t work. Didn’t even roasted my nuts. No it didn’t work…….or did it? Hmmmmmm

January 15, 2014 at 8:21 pm
(80) el says:

bad thing is that some people, like grandmo really believe it.. and now keep her cellphone in another room and afraid to answer calls..

February 5, 2014 at 11:54 am
(81) one ball left says:

my cell phone rang in my pant pocket and my ball popped

February 11, 2014 at 11:27 am
(82) Joe says:

Maybe he hit enter too soon and your was to identify something stupid
like your stupid comment, but he forgot to say comment… :D

No? I know Aym stupid! :D

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