May 29, 2012
New Japanese Smartphone Detects Radiation
Michael Harper for RedOrbit.com
Claims have been thrown back and forth by medical and technology experts alike as to whether or not cell phones generate radiation, and if so, if they generate enough to cause cancers of the brain or even reproductive systems. Now, there´s a phone that may or may not generate radiation (depending on who you ask) but will also detect radiation, alerting users of any potential hotspots they may come across.
According to Reuters, mobile phone operator SoftBank Corp has announced today they will begin selling phones with built-in radiation detectors to address concerns of radioactive hot spots which may still exist along Japan´s eastern coast after the explosion of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.
In fact, parts of northeastern Japan remain off-limits as radiation levels remain much too high after last year´s earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima power plant, causing meltdowns and radiation leaks.
Reuters reports that radiation alerts and detection systems are becoming valuable as advocacy groups in Tokyo are calling for monitoring systems to be placed in schools and other public areas.
SoftBank founder and president Masayoshi Son told reporters, "The threat from the nuclear accident cannot be seen by the human eye and continues to be a concern for many people, especially for mothers with small children.”
In the year since the catastrophes, Son has become an outspoken supporter of renewable energy and critic of nuclear power. He told reporters that the new smartphones will be smaller and easier to use than current Geiger counters used to measure these levels.
SoftBank introduced this new radiation-detecting phone when they announced their 2012 summer line-up. Dubbed the Pantone 5 SoftBank 107SH, the Android-based smartphone comes in a variety of colors, including black, blue, green, and of course, pink. The phone will come with mostly industry standard features, such as a 3.7 inch display, 854 x 580 resolution and a 4-megapixel camera. The one stand-out feature of this phone, of course, is its ability to track between 0.05 and 9.99 Sv/h of radiation.
The phone uses a dedicated key at the bottom-right front of the device to begin scanning for gamma radiation levels. The 107SH will also come equipped with Wi-Fi and GPS, which the phone will use to keep track of a users location and radiation levels in that area.
The phone will also be water and dust proof and is expected to be released this July.
SoftBank has not released a cost for the phone yet, but has said it would be available at an affordable price.
Mobile phones have often been targeted as an easy way to roll our notifications and warnings about potential earthquakes and earthquake-related threats.
Last August, it was reported that Apple would include an early earthquake warning system in iOS 5 for Japanese users.
As Japan has the most sophisticated earthquake early warning system in the world, the iPhone integration is said to work in tandem with this network and send out early warnings when one of Japan´s thousands of seismographs detects tremors. MacRumors.com also reports such a feature is common for phones in Japan.