Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Radiation Detecting Android Phone Coming To Japan

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the also-detects-invasion-by-mothra dept.

Android 133

itwbennett writes "Softbank, Japan's third largest carrier, has teamed up with Sharp to create a radiation detector chip for the latest model in the company's popular, bare-bones Pantone line of smartphones. The chip 'can detect gamma radiation in the air at doses of between 0.05 and 9.99 microsieverts per hour,' according to an IDG News Service report. 'The phone then uses its GPS to place readings on a map. Due to go on sale in July, it runs Android 4.0 and features standard functionality for Japanese handsets, including mobile TV, touch payments and infrared transmission.'"

cancel ×

133 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

That's seems awfully sensitive to me (4, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40155953)

Seems to me that's it's too low on both the top end and bottom end. You couldn't use it for detecting real hotspots on the top end and it's so sensitive on the bottom end that even exposure to direct sunlight will have everyone panicking. I think it's more likely to cause irrational behavior than help.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156107)

I think it's more likely to cause irrational behavior than help.

It's made to capitalize on irrational post-Fukushima fear. There's no legitimate reason for anyone (who's not a researcher or a nuclear plant employee) to be carrying a radiation detector around with them all the time.

The device is made to be extra-sensitive because if it didn't pick up something, people would feel silly for having bought one. (Which they should.)

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

jakimfett (2629943) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156153)

Yeah, these are going to sell like hotcakes. Not because they are useful, but because people are terrified of the possibility of being "exposed to icky radiation".

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40157415)

I think you are speaking for yourself. I was in Japan in January for 3 weeks. Only once did the topic of radiation come up, and that is when we were near Tokyo. The people we stayed with still let the tap water sit in bottles for a few days before consuming. A technique that was adopted to mitigate radiation concerns, but they continued because the water tasted better.

The majority of Japanese were unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami. The only direct impact I saw, away from the hard hit coast lines, was changes to reduce power consumption. Things such as LED lighting and changes to work schedules.

The reality is that the radiation release may be dangerous in the long term. But loss of power has equally if not more wide reaching and significant impacts, and is also immediate. At least that was my take away.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158771)

Yeah, these are going to sell like hotcakes. Not because they are useful, but because people are terrified of the possibility of being "exposed to icky radiation".

I'm certain that their sales will be immediately undercut by cell phone cases that include radiation-detection badges. Only the paranoid-1337 will spend the extra to have detection fully integrated into their phone.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156205)

There's no legitimate reason for anyone (who's not a researcher or a nuclear plant employee) to be carrying a radiation detector around with them all the time.

Unless you're a spy who might become the target of the russian secret service. Or you live on the apartment next to a spy who might become the target of the russian secret service.

And you never know whether you live next to a spy who might become the target of the russian secret service, so...

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156391)

i have a sneaking suspicion you possibly the only person to be expecting the spanish inquisition...

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156515)

i have a sneaking suspicion you possibly the only person to be expecting the spanish inquisition...

Nah, if that was what you were worried about you'd need a phone with a soft cushion and comfy chair detector as well.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156223)

"there's no legitimate reason for anyone... to be carrying a radiation detector."

unless you wanted to receive data from numerous locations in real time detailing the exact dispersal of radiation at ground level.... which i would think to be a very useful information.

just as japan is swarmed by people carrying camcorders providing the most recorded footage of a tsunami ever known...

invaluable data i would think.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40157893)

"there's no legitimate reason for anyone ... to be carrying a radiation detector."

unless you wanted to receive data from numerous locations in real time detailing the exact dispersal of radiation at ground level.... which i would think to be a very useful information.

just as japan is swarmed by people carrying camcorders providing the most recorded footage of a tsunami ever known...

invaluable data i would think.

Hmm, yes, gathering data. That's something a researcher would do, wouldn't you think? You know, like I said in the part of my post that you edited out?

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159141)

Nobody gives a shit about what you said AC. Any of you. Err, us.
- AC

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (5, Insightful)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156565)

There's no legitimate reason for anyone (who's not a researcher or a nuclear plant employee) to be carrying a radiation detector around with them all the time.

I call BS. You might as well say "There's no legitimate reason for anyone (who's not a researcher or a nuclear plant employee) to be carrying a detector for NOx levels" or something like that.

You live in an environment, and you're interested (for whatever reason) to measure 1 aspect of that environment's condition. That's all there is to it, and that's all the 'legitimacy' you need.

For that purpose the range seems appropriate... I've got a radiation chart here, some figures from lower end of the scale:
0.1 microSv - airport security scan (backscatter X-ray)
0.25 microSv - airport security scan maximum permitted
1.0 microSv - using a CRT monitor for a year
5.0 microSv - dental X-ray
7.5 microSv - per day in Tokyo, 250 km SW of Fukushima plant
40 microSv - Flight from New York to LA
100 microSv - chest X-ray

So that sensitivity range seems reasonable - note the "per hour" in there. Not radiation levels that would put you in hospital with 3 weeks to live, but the kind of levels above background that might be a concern longterm. Having a sensor that allows you to measure that throughout the day, wherever you go, sounds more useful than spot checks or relying (solely?) on government-provided figures.

Whether you should bother, what levels are safe, etc, let people figure that out for themselves. I don't see any harm in adding some datapoints...

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#40157155)

0.1 microSv - airport security scan (backscatter X-ray)
0.25 microSv - airport security scan maximum permitted
1.0 microSv - using a CRT monitor for a year
5.0 microSv - dental X-ray
7.5 microSv - per day in Tokyo, 250 km SW of Fukushima plant
40 microSv - Flight from New York to LA
100 microSv - chest X-ray

Do you know anything about the Port of Oakland's scanner (in the San Francisco Bay Area) for trucks carrying containers? I have a truck driver friend who has to drive his truck through that scanner every time he picks up a container from there. Apparently, it's not that bad for him because he does long routes and doesn't go back and forth from the Port that often, but he knows some other drivers that have to come back from that Port up to 10 times a day on some of the busier days.
 

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158333)

Googled...

http://ecso.swf.usace.army.mil/PublicReview/Oakland%20-%20HEMXR%20_eagle_%20FEA%2020090810.pdf [army.mil]

HEMXRIS Occupants
  â"
HEMXRISs are designed so that the radiation dose levels within the driverâ(TM)s cab and at the inspector work-stations (systems operators) will be below 0.00005 rem in any one hour. With an annual work limit of 2,000 hours, this hourly dose limit will prevent annual cumulative exposures that exceed the limit of 0.1 rem in a year.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40159689)

Please listen to this - while your chart appears accurate on a relative scale, you are ignoring that flight radiation is of different energy than x-rays, and is different again from nuclear gamma. The energy, duration, and intensity of the radiation matters a lot and it isn't captured by "mSv". This is also why bananas (K radiation) are NOT comparable at all to flight time at high altitude, yet 90% of the folks on the internet will repeat that XKCD comic that compares them. Likewise, dental x-rays are not comparable to radiation from cesium-134.

Radiation is like jello - it comes in varying thickness and flavor. Orange and lemon appeal to different people, and some like jigglers, while others like watery.

 

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40157887)

There is no legitimate reason for you do be able to decide what a legitimate reason is. "I want to" is a legitimate reason for me.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40158325)

I think it's more likely to cause irrational behavior than help.

It's made to capitalize on irrational post-Fukushima fear. There's no legitimate reason for anyone (who's not a researcher or a nuclear plant employee) to be carrying a radiation detector around with them all the time.

Did you miss where it said "The phone then uses its GPS to place readings on a map."? I think a few thousand radiation detectors (ultra-sensitive so they actually pick up background radiation) building up a radiation map of Japan is pretty cool. You'd be able to see slight hotspots from Fukushima at this point, and they'd be nicely put in context of actual background levels... what's not to like? Sure, it's quite unlikely to pick up any actual problems before the authorities spot them, but it's cool anyway.

If you wanted to weasel out of this, I guess you could say such a project makes everyone involved a "researcher" in some sense, but that's certainly not the sense your statement implied. And if you do go with that (though I trust you won't), how the hell is anyone who chooses to carry a detector not a "researcher"?

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158907)

It's made to capitalize on irrational post-Fukushima fear. There's no legitimate reason for anyone (who's not a researcher or a nuclear plant employee) to be carrying a radiation detector around with them all the time.

As I consider myself an arm-chair ocean conservationist, I have been horrified by the increase in popularity of sushi over the last 2 decades, and the steady decline of the bluefin tuna population which has only narrowly escaped the endangered species list as a direct result of overfishing. Now, I can only hope that the trendy raw fisheaters continue their disgusting culinary habit, and if not become extinct themselves, at lease will be prevented from reproducing. [google.com] Care for some sushi, friend?

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158963)

Yes, those pesky plebes should be kept way from technology and science.

All Radiation detectors detect something, if set to a sensitive setting. That's because three is always some radiation.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (4, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156227)

This phone is a ruse, to captalise by make people think they can manage this. In other words, it is a comfort item, not an actual safety measure.

It also works as a propaganda item. "Testing radiation levels is the new normal, it's even on my phone, see!" The management of public perception is far easier than the management of spent fuel in reactor 4.

The real, long-term prospect for anyone living in the Fukushima shadow is too horrible to contemplate.

The new, official story - just made public - [reuters.com] is that the initial release from TEPCO was 2.5 X higher than was admitted at the time. If this is what they are recalcitrantly admitting to, after incontrovertible evidence, how bad is it really? After all, the utility and the government both demonstrate they cannot be trusted to prefer health and safety over saving-face.

So? Buy a phone and whistle past the graveyard...

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156331)

This phone is a ruse, to captalise by make people think they can manage this. In other words, it is a comfort item, not an actual safety measure

Well thats just foolish, of course its useful if its sample rate is fast enough. I strongly encourage my genetic competitors in the race of evolution to not worry about exposing themselves and their kids to excess radiation.

Hold it over each farmers market table and buy from the one with the lower reading.

Concerned about lifetime exposure? Wave it over a granite countertop and then a corian countertop and tell me which you want in your food prep area.

Its like saying fire extinguishers are a ruse because they make people think they can manage fire, or it improves safety. Well, uh, yeah, it does.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156585)

The granite one, it will last longer and look better.
The levels of radiation you get from one are nothing to worry about.

You must never get a dental xray or dare go near the fruit in the supermarket.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156797)

Granite doesn't look good once its got "some wear and tear" and its soooo stereotypical 00's housing bubble (kind of like avocado appliances screamed 70s) that its not cool anymore. So Corian for me.

I'm hardly in the class of FUD'ed WRT to radiation. None the less if I lived in Japan and one farmers market table pinned the needle on my phone and the other one was normal, I'd choose the normal one.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156833)

Corian just looks cheap though. I really prefer commercial stainless steel counters. Way more practical.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (3, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156359)

Samt thing happened on 9/11 where the government claimed the air was safe to breathe, but then people started getting sick, so the government had to admit it lied. What use is having regulation if the politicians or bureaucrats simply ignore them (or lie)? Regulations don't work because the regulators aren't doing the job

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156665)

Regulators use their favouritism towards the regulated, to secure employment with those subjects at a later time - often as influencers on future, toothless and industry-biased regulation.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (4, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156363)

I'd love to be scared by the radiation release at this point, as I enjoy a good fright, but how many people have died to date of exposure to the radiation? How many people will die as a result of the exposure? Will it really top the loss of life on the day of the earthquake? Is it worse to be exposed to that much radiation, or the amount of toxic agriculture pestiside and industrial era polution crap I live with every day in the suburbs?

We are surrounded by risks of many types both within our bodies genome, the enviornment, and behaviors we have. I just can't wrap my head around hyper focusing on one and ignoring all the others.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

squizzar (1031726) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156365)

Well since the WHO don't seem to have found any particularly nasty areas ... not that bad? Safety standards are set incredibly low and this generates an intense pressure to give out the lowest possible numbers when reporting radiation. If there was less irrational panic then people might be more honest about the numbers. Think of it this way: It's at least 2.5x as bad as it was declared to be, maybe a whole lot worse (as you seem to think) and yet there are no discernible health effects (except those caused by the ensuing panic).

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156573)

Too horrible to contemplate?
A few cases of thyroid cancer?

Way to blow this out of proportion.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156693)

Wait for the three headed babies.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

PNutts (199112) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159209)

Wait for the three eyed fish.

Fixed that for ya.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159633)

According to a documentary they're showing at the moment, Chernobyl - after well over two decades - is currently inhabited by mutated zombie like beings. It's not really surprising people would be concerned.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156819)

The World Health Organization released its own study this week concluding that residents around the Fukushima plant had been exposed to up to 20 times normal background radiation in the first year after the accident. That was still within the WHO's recommended emergency limit.

Yes, absolutely horrible. How many calculated phantom deaths are we at now?

We easily expose ourselves to 100,000x as much carcinogens in every day life, out of sheer ignorance, but a anything with word radiation is horrible.

1. People were moved out of danger area
2. People are kept at a safe distance

Compare this to something like Bhopal, where no one gives a shit if thousands and thousands keep drinking heavily polluted ground water around that disaster that are outside any safe limit set by any agency. Oh well, I guess you can't really make money from poor Indians.

PS. As to the "radiation release from Fukushima", it is a calculated amount not a measured amount. Most went to sea, and 99.9% of that release doesn't exist anymore.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40157077)

The real, long-term prospect for anyone living in the Fukushima shadow is too horrible to contemplate.

Yeah. Maybe 0.4 extra people will statistically get cancer 30 years from now that wouldn't have gotten it anyway. Oh wait, I've contemplated it.

The new, official story - just made public - [reuters.com] is that the initial release from TEPCO was 2.5 X higher than was admitted at the time. If this is what they are recalcitrantly admitting to, after incontrovertible evidence, how bad is it really? After all, the utility and the government both demonstrate they cannot be trusted to prefer health and safety over saving-face.

So? Buy a phone and whistle past the graveyard...

Did you even read the article you linked to? "Because radiation sensors closest to the plant were knocked out by the March 11, 2011 quake and the tsunami, the utility based its estimate on other monitoring posts and data collected by Japanese government agencies." This isn't some grand conspiracy of people trying to save face, it's about not having information because their sensors were knocked out. They were able to gather more data since.

By the way, even 2.5x the original estimate is really no big deal [xkcd.com] . Now it will approximate the yearly dose from natural potassium in the body.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40157203)

Comfort?

I remember riding the train in Tokyo a week or so after the earthquake, and noticed a middle-aged guy in a dress constantly checking his radiation meter. And this was the day after Akihabara had been cleared of everything that could measure radiation exposure.

So if everyone had access to one of these devices it would increase the stress level of a lot of people, who would hawkishly stare at the radiation meters worrying about the normal background radiation. There are people going into panic mode from microwaves, imagine what will happen when they realize how much radiation there really is in daily life.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158219)

yeah, no Japanese have the experience of living in Irradiated conditions...

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156233)

irrational behavior is great for sales. this wasn't designed by scientifical scientists who know science, it's the equivalent of cricket cellular in japan. they're years ahead of us in being a technological society over in japan, so your phone manufacturer is the first person you think of when you suddenly need radiation detection:

"I received many tweets asking for some way to detect radiation" after the disaster, said Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son at a press conference in Tokyo. "So I decided, 'let's do it.'"

"fuck, why not?" Son continued, "we almost launched a phone that microwaves your food while it's in your mouth, but this fukushima disaster made that obsolete pretty quickly. we had to find some way to recoup those losses and this was an opportunity for us to turn lemons into lemonade."

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156655)

I want one

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156241)

I'm curious about the failure mode at the top end...

I'm not saying it matters a lot, the likelihood of being exposed to an instant onset source of 10 or more is so close to 0 as to be effectively 0. It would however be extremely bad form if the sensor simply reports 0 (either due to software limit checking or the sensors failure mode alone) when the dosage is in fact 15microsieverts.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156327)

Before anyone jumps down my throat I left out the word "unexpected"

Yes, I realize there are many things that you could expose yourself to (even for valid reasons!) that would top this thing out, I am referring to unexpected sources.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156249)

Sure about your numbers? "one micro" is in the background range (which varies from place to place by about two orders of magnitude total), so 0.05 is a pretty good low that will probably never be reached. High enough that bananas won't set it off unless you bake it into a loaf of banana bread, but low enough to tell that you're in a normal area.

I agree the high end is ridiculously low. That thing is going to go bonkers if you have it in your pocket while getting a dental xray. You read stuff on wiki about modern dental xrays being ten micros or so, and that may be the case with a brand new CCD imager blah blah but in ye olden days it was quite a bit more. A mammogram is about a fifty times more (well, think of the volume difference, unless you've got some mighty weird bodily proportions). Wonder if that would burn out the sensor...

I think it's more likely to cause irrational behavior than help.

The only behavior for the general public regarding radiation is irrational behavior.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156839)

"one micro" is in the background range (which varies from place to place by about two orders of magnitude total), so 0.05 is a pretty good low that will probably never be reached. High enough that bananas won't set it off unless you bake it into a loaf of banana bread, but low enough to tell that you're in a normal area.

Umm, no. Typical daily background in 10 uSv. Which is 0.4 uSv/hour.

Which is considerably above 0.05 uSv/hr.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156261)

irrational behavior

Good chance it would also cause people that react irrationally to radiation to calm down when they realize that their own habits expose them to it the most.

I'd like one with a heart rate monitor as well, and an oxygen sensor (since particulate detection isn't on a chip yet).

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156299)

If I understand this chart [xkcd.com] correctly, the phone will not detect more than the amount typically received by a the average person in a day. So if the meter is pegged at 10, you still won't know if you are standing next to the Fukushima power plant, or next to someone getting a chest x-ray.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40157071)

1. Meter pegged at 10 2. Not standing next to someone getting a chest x-ray 3. ???? 4. WORRY!!!

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40157353)

Are you retarded, or just a nincompoop? You're out to lunch, and so is OP.

The phone will detect up to 10 uSv/hr. A daily dose according to the chart is 10 uSv / 24hr. It will register 5% due to normal background radiation. When it is reading 100%, the dosage you get in 24 hours is equivalent to the EPA limit for a nuclear power plant worker for 1 year. This is a perfectly good scale to use -- just sensitive enough to show it is working, enough range to reach "this is dangerous, get out now" level.

The people who made this device are not brainless morons like you and OP. Sheesh. Why are the stupidest people always the ones who make the default assumption that everybody else is wrong and they are right? For fuck's sake, just shut your mouth and think and listen, rather than regurgitate shit out of it all the time.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156405)

Of course they made it ridiculously sensitive at the low end. If you're going to sell a phone to people who are worried about radiation you don't want it reading zero all the time or they'll think they've wasted their money. Which they will have.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156571)

I think the availability of very sensitive radiation meters could be a good thing in the long run - it would let people develop an awareness of everyday radiation sources. Remember that radiation has an extra scare factor because we have no intuition of it. People quickly get desensitized to dangers they meet in their everyday life, like car travel.

Wikipedia has the average airline cruise background radiation at 2.7 microSv/h. If people could see that number on their mobile at all times, they would pretty quickly stop caring. There's a little radiation everywhere, so hey, whatcha gonna do?

Another tidbit from Wikipedai, an upper limit of 10 microSv/h would make it less useful for people from Ramsar [wikipedia.org] , where the radation in the worst places are 30 microSv/h - but even in Ramsar the average person receives closer to 1.1 microSv/h, which means they spend much of their time in areas where this meter would be in range.
I'd say if you measure 10 microSv in a normally low-radiation area, that would be worth checking out.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156593)

Too much sunlight is not good, so maybe it will make people more conscious about what they do. I can see this being useful in letting you know if you've been in the sun too long.

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156765)

Seems to me that's it's too low on both the top end and bottom end. You couldn't use it for detecting real hotspots on the top end and it's so sensitive on the bottom end that even exposure to direct sunlight will have everyone panicking. I think it's more likely to cause irrational behavior than help.

Hmm, it detects any dosage above ~0.05 uSv per hour, eh?

A quick check of my XKCD radiation chart, and I find that a normal day's exposure is 10 uSv, which corresponds to an hourly rate of 0.4 uSv.

Soooo...this thing will be going off pretty much all the time?

Never mind that your own body's internal radiation will trigger it as well...

Yah, that'll reassure a lot of people.

Re:That seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

Peter Harris (98662) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158179)

Yeah, seems like you'd want to know the difference between getting 9.99 microsieverts and, say, 100 millisieverts per hour. :)

Re:That's seems awfully sensitive to me (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158993)

It will immediately make people aware that 'radiation' is like everything else. It's the dose that make the poison. That would go a long way to reducing unreasonable fear of radiation.

Crowd source radiation.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40155971)

Now they can crowd source what is safe and what is not....

I'd avoid the detector and find a safe place to live instead....

it's a trick (4, Funny)

swschrad (312009) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156007)

if they get up to a half mS, you probably get pop-up ads for the closest pharmacy with iodine pills.

Next up a headset with filter mask (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156067)

Seriously, what if there's some excess air pollution, airborne plague or other atmosphere issue?

Would you really want to be kept from making phone calls?

So act now, and get a hands-free filter mask that goes on in seconds without interrupting your conversation.

Note: Device will serve no purpose in the event of a zombie outbreak.

Business Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156085)

1. Spoof reports of high radiation at your competitor's location.
2. ?????????????
3. PROFIT!!!!

Geiger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156141)

Why don't they call a 'radiation detector' by its name? It's a Geiger Counter. Way to make a name for something fall out of common usage...

Re:Geiger (3, Interesting)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156229)

Maybe because it (probably) doesn't use a Geiger counter?

A Geiger counter is just one of many radiation detectors (or particle detectors).

Re:Geiger (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156243)

Geiger–Müller

Re:Geiger (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156265)

Why don't they call a 'radiation detector' by its name? It's a Geiger Counter. Way to make a name for something fall out of common usage...

Unless it contains a Geiger–Müller tube, it isn't much of a Geiger counter. Since this phone apparently contains a 'chip'(quite possibly just a CCD of some sort packaged so that most of the pxel hits can be assumed to be from high energy radiation, possibly something cleverer/more specialized), and since cramming a gas tube and high-voltage driver circuits into a cellphone is a pain, I'm guessing that there is nothing 'Geiger' about this counter...

Re:Geiger (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156459)

So this is a Geiger counter... on a computer?

That means any patent on such technology is obvious and clearly just a derivative of a real Geiger counter! Reform the patent office! Woo!

</mockery>

Re:Geiger (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156757)

Since this phone apparently contains a 'chip'(quite possibly just a CCD of some sort packaged so that most of the pxel hits can be assumed to be from high energy radiation, possibly something cleverer/more specialized),

Its interesting to speculate about "the chip". I'm guessing a scintillation counter like you're describing would be too complicated and doing the old "count SEU in a bank of ram" trick just isn't sensitive enough at the low end, or at least at a reasonable sample rate. The way I'd design it is a traditional ionization counter by playing wire bond games inside a ceramic chip with the input lead of a really high impedance op-amp, all on one little chip. The trick is building a ionization chamber that is not a microphone or seismometer. Although the phone has a microphone and accelerometer so given enough DSP... Hmm.

Go to google and type in "homemade ionization detector". Most designs are "getting old" and I think modern opamps could do a better job than 30 year old discrete jfets.

Re:Geiger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40157279)

Please describe the ionization chamber in more detail, and why it would be so sensitive to movement.

Re:Geiger (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159721)

Please describe the ionization chamber in more detail, and why it would be so sensitive to movement.

stereotypical enclosure full of gas (air). wire or something down the center maybe with spring for large chamber or just dangling. Stick a modest voltage on that wiggly wire and measure the current flowing in/out due to nearby ionizing radiation. wiggling that wire or the enclosure/shield is going to induce a signal in it. Whoops. Now a good DSP analyzer can probably process out everything but small constant currents and single event RC time constant pulses, in other words ignore 60 hz hum and speech noise. But it'll be a PITA.

To some extent a ionization chamber is just an electret (or is it condenser?) microphone thats just really freaking big and full of air and people are more interested in DC and impulse output than audio frequency output.

microphonics are not unusual in low signal level, high gain, high impedance analog electronics. ionization chambers are just another victim of microphonics problems in general.

Making one really tiny to fit in a cell phone might help, or might just make the freq response and noise output more like ultrasonic, I'd have to think about that.

Re:Geiger (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40157443)

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to dig up anything on Samsung's website that provided me any clues. They have plenty of fab projects(including some sensor stuff) and various high-end measuring instruments and things; but the only references to this gamma-detector chip were stories about this cellphone. It'd be nice to find a datasheet and a digikey catalog number...

Re:Geiger (3, Informative)

Ruie (30480) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156367)

Why don't they call a 'radiation detector' by its name? It's a Geiger Counter. Way to make a name for something fall out of common usage...

There is not much description in the article, but I don't think it is a Geiger tube, as that requires high voltages and is fairly bulky. This is probably some sort of silicon detector [fnal.gov] .

Could use BGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156525)

Might be a Bismuth Germanate Oxide sensor, if you dont need detailed spectral data you probably could make something pretty compact.

Use it near the TSA nudebody scanners (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156149)

I'd like to find out how much radiation they are putting-out, before stepping through, to make sure they are not malfunctioning & emitting killer levels.

In the meantime I'll just avoid them and go through the breast/penis/pussy grope. 1 minute of embarassment is preferable to developing a slow death through cancer.

Re:Use it near the TSA nudebody scanners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156725)

And you think people are irrational about Fukushima.

Moron. You just say that nonsense about the scanners because they offend your delicate psuedo-libertarian sensibilities.

Re:Use it near the TSA nudebody scanners (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40157423)

>>>You just say that nonsense about the scanners because they offend your delicate psuedo-libertarian sensibilities.

No I say that "nonsense" because Xray machines do malfunction from time-to-time, and have been known to irradiate patients with deadly levels. That is why regulations have been passed to inspect Xray machines every few months, to insure they are still working properly & outputting safe levels rather than deadly levels. (Meanwhile the TSA machines are never inspected. They could be emitting cancer-causing levels and no one would know.)

Oh and thanks for the -1 downmod anon. coward. I assume you used your actual logged-in ID to do that.

Re:Use it near the TSA nudebody scanners (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40157697)

No I say that "nonsense" because Xray machines do malfunction from time-to-time, and have been known to irradiate patients with deadly levels. That is why regulations have been passed to inspect Xray machines every few months, to insure they are still working properly & outputting safe levels rather than deadly levels. (Meanwhile the TSA machines are never inspected. They could be emitting cancer-causing levels and no one would know.)

According to the linear hypothesis there is no level other than zero which does not cause cancer. In the aggregate even though the scanners may pose a trivially small individual risk the chance of someone somewhere winning the TSA cancer lottery is significant.

Replace the scanners with a guillotine that with some random probability of one in hundreds of thousands to tens of millions it chops off the head of someone going thru a TSA line. This is essentially what the scanners are doing except victims will never be known and their demise will be much less humane than a guillotine.

Re:Use it near the TSA nudebody scanners (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40157753)

According to the linear hypothesis there is no level other than zero which does not cause cancer.

In which case, it must really suck that you get a small amount of radiation exposure from your own body, eh?

In fact, just about enough to trigger this phone....

Re:Use it near the TSA nudebody scanners (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158665)

In which case, it must really suck that you get a small amount of radiation exposure from your own body, eh?

Personally I don't care about my risks because I have better things to do. You'll ruin your life and health worrying about all of this noise that could happen... it is not worth doing.

As a policy matter it is important to decision makers and the general public who care about more than just themselves. Unless I bungled a decimal or unit which I do from time to time and you chart the backscatter figures to LNT line it is one early cancer death per 5 million scans. Assume TSA processes ~1.8m peeps daily.

There are ~365 days in a year and ~3650 days in a decade. In 10 years assuming everyone goes thru the scanners this is ~1314 cancer deaths.

Re:Use it near the TSA nudebody scanners (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158839)

There are ~365 days in a year and ~3650 days in a decade. In 10 years assuming everyone goes thru the scanners this is ~1314 cancer deaths.

There are better than half a million cancer deaths in the US alone every year. Your ~131 extra annual cancer deaths is a 0.03% increase, at most.

In other words, even if your estimates of premature cancer deaths is correct, the change as a result of the TSA scans will be lost in the noise....

Re:Use it near the TSA nudebody scanners (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159725)

There are better than half a million cancer deaths in the US alone every year. Your ~131 extra annual cancer deaths is a 0.03% increase, at most.
In other words, even if your estimates of premature cancer deaths is correct, the change as a result of the TSA scans will be lost in the noise....

Yes you are 100% correct.

The TSA kills ~131 people per year on x-ray backscatter devices not able to detect internal explosives or petn laden underwear but hey no biggie cause CrimsonAvenger says these deaths will be lost in the noise of people who would have died of cancer anyway.

One thing I'm having trouble understanding is why it is necessary to stop with cancer? I mean since 100% of everyone living dies why not just let some three letter agency kill a few thousand random people a year just for kicks...still an insigifnicant rounding error of total people who would have died anyway. Am I being unfair?

So .. how do they calibrate it? (1)

Kalidor (94097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156173)

IIRC, decent dosimeters require re-calibration at least yearly if not more often. (Sounds like they don't respond well to sudden shock and this increases accuracy drift.)

I wonder how SoftBank is going to handle this. I don't think people are going to appreciate a test sample being delivered to their home, and I think employees wouldn't appreciate it in stores/kiosks. I know 7Elevens sell everything in Japan, but not sure this is going to fit in well on the kombini scene.

Similarly, I don't think having the phones sent to the factory will work. It's a tad inconvenient.

Re:So .. how do they calibrate it? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156417)

Why bother calibrating it? Just have them buy a new phone every year. Win-win, as far as Softbank is concerned (for that matter, the consumers might not even mind that much).

Re:So .. how do they calibrate it? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156509)

Depends on the tech. Those old fashioned static charged human hair things were awful. Geiger tubes used in a high flux environment need it pretty bad. Geigers in general need it ... sorta, due to long term gas leakage and quench gas issues. solid state is not nearly as drifty.

Its kind of like measuring length and declaring that since my old gauge block set technically required annual recertification that means no one would ever buy a wooden ruler, because how would be ship them all to Starrett

Universal Gadget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156197)

It's official. Smart phones are getting closer and closer to being Universal Gadgets, encompassing many other gadgets that over the years we've come to rely on.
Getting ever closer to tricorder capability as well. Are you listening Star Trek? Your crew wants Angry Birds!

What could possibly glow wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156287)

Hopefully it will be more accurate then speed trap maps...

Given Japan's history with radiation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156329)

I am not surprised. I would probably be paranoid as well given how many nuclear incidents have hit Japan in the last 67 years.

Crowd-sourced radiation detection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156341)

Because the Japanese Govt. simply doesn't have the resources or technology to map every hotspot themselves.

Huh. Can it be used in an RNG? (2)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156487)

That'd be a nice 'bonus' application, to add some entropy by using it as part of a hardware random number generator.

Power to the People (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40156583)

Sure this may cause some false alarms, but I feel letting people be able to measure such things that they usually rely on someone else (perhaps government) to say is safe. For instance, use one of these if you live near power lines and see if you actually are far enough away from them...

Re:Power to the People (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156837)

For instance, use one of these if you live near power lines and see if you actually are far enough away from them...

I think you're confusing ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

Re:Power to the People (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156973)

What kind of power lines do they have were you live that transmit ionizing radiation?

Can it detect itself? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156623)

Since Cell Phone produce some radiation, will it warn us if we have been on the phone too long?

Re:Can it detect itself? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156883)

If your phone produces ionizing radiation you're doin' it wrong.

The concept of a tritium backlight for cellphone is strangely appealing to me. Occasionally you see a promotional bling-phone that costs $50K or whatever which is merely a plain old $200 phone encrusted with $49800 worth of ugly gold and ugly gemstones. But a tritium backlight would be so freaking expensive it probably would be a genuine $100K phone that really internally contains $100K worth of stuff (stuff in this case being H3).

Oh Japan... (1)

DeeEff (2370332) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156769)

I would think the first course of action if you're worried about radiation poisoning is to move to a place where this app would be useless (ie: low or no radiation from human sources).

Although, knowing our wonderful eastern friends, they're probably trying to make nuclear superheroes and this chip/app/phone is just a means to sniff out the Hulk from the general population. I'm assuming it can detect gamma radiation as well, so obviously we should put it to it's best use.

Androids can prevent cancer now? (1)

ak47gen (1398483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40156949)

So the new android phones in Japan has ICS and can prevent cancer. What now apple? WHAT NOW?

I read the title as.... (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158367)

I read the title as someone using radiation to detect an Android Phone that is coming to Japan.

You don't need a special phone to detect radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40157383)

You can use the phones CCD camera as a radiation detector. All you need is the right app and a piece of tape.

Phone + Geiger counter + Japan (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 2 years ago | (#40157457)

= Godzilla Foursquare Mayor of Tokyo.

Hyphens, bitches! Use them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40158067)

Headline should b: "Radiation-Detecting Android Phone Coming To Japan" ...unless you really do mean that an Android phone is coming to Japan, and the radiation there has detected its arrival.

you can get radioactivitycounter on google play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40158531)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rdklein.radioactivity&hl=en

http://rdklein.de/html/radioactivity.html

it works, i have it running on my galaxy note.

Why only Gamma? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158661)

So, there's 4 types of ionizing radiation. Gamma is only one. Is Gamma the type which is mainly radiated by the isotopes of concern? Or because that's the easiest/cheapest to create a detector chip for, so they slap one in a phone, creating a 1/4 solution to the problem, and market it to the public as a more or less total solution to the problem?

For the particular case of detecting reactor isotopes, is Gamma radiation even particularly useful?

Sweet (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40158915)

Can I get this in the next Nexus?

This might be really good (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159097)

Today, radiation is a scary mystical thing, partially because people don't realize how common it is. Perhaps by having these detectors everywhere people will learn that radiation isn't the frighteningly scary thing that the media tells them it is. They will start measuring radiation everywhere: their friends, them selves, their electronics, the air, the soil, the rain, their mom's Fiestaware, their Grandma's Depression Glass. And they will start to see statistics and patterns. When they don't suddenly combust they might start looking at the numbers their detector gives them and start thinking: "Okay, the phone made lots of beeps and displayed a frowny-face: so what does that *really mean*?"

I imagine lots of people were scared by A/C power when Thomas Edison was electrocuting animals with it. But today it is all around us, and people are not scared of walking under power lines or going into their own homes. This may have the same effect.

Gamma? (1)

MacColossus (932054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40159197)

I'm more concerned about Alpha and Beta radiation. Both are far more dangerous to human tissue. Of course they are also significantly easier to shield against.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>