Japanese smartphone to measure radiation27th September 2011
One of Japan's top mobile phone companies has said it wants to create a smartphone that can measure radiation levels.
The phones will be embedded in jackets containing sensors that can measure other things, such as body fat, muscle mass, and bad breath.
They will also be able to measure alcohol levels in people's breath, and other molecules like acetone, which indicate digestion, as well as the level of ultraviolet light in an area.
The company, NTT DoCoMo, plans to showcase the technology next month at an industry event near Tokyo.
Daisuke Sakuma, the company's spokesman, said that many customers had been nervous about radiation since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake earlier this year, which sparked a nuclear crisis.
He said that his company had been strategising about possible services it could offer to people as a telecom carrier.
The majority of DoCoMo's projects have thus far focused on data collection, a field in which the recently announced technology will also play a role.
The company's environmental sensor network will collect data from over 2,500 points across Japan, allowing people to view that data if they wish.
In Japan, worries about the health implications of the radiation leak have caused a massive increase in demand for radiation-measuring devices.
The government recently announced that it had found dangerously high levels of radiation in rice from a city 55 kilometres (34 miles) west of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant.
Under the current Japanese regulations, rice with up to 500 becquerels of radioactive caesium per kilo is considered safe.
Until recently, the highest level of caesium found measured 136 becquerels per kilo.
While many countries have banned all Japanese food imports, efforts to encourage people to buy produce originating from Fukushima have drawn support from people within the country itself.
Although Japanese officials have already tested over 400 sites in Fukushima prefecture, the country plans to order more tests on rice growing in the region of the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The effects of radiation are diverse, and scientists are still not certain how the new levels will effect people living in the region of Fukushima.
At the most basic level, ionising radiation causes DNA damage to cells.
Due to the nature of the damage, the cells are not often able to repair themselves, which can lead to premature ageing or tumour development.
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Title: Japanese smartphone to measure radiation
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 19879
Date Added: 27th Sep 2011