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Walking Geiger Counter

Improve security by optionally adding sensors to cellphones
  (+6, -2)
(+6, -2)
  [vote for,

Inspired by Temperature Phone

Let's face it -- we're all a little worried that one of these days we'll lose a couple of blocks of a major metropolitan area.

During the height of the Cold War, it was quite popular for civilians to volunteer to watch the skies

By voluntarily adding various sensor (geiger, bio, etc) to cellphones, we can dramatically increase the areas being monitored.

The sensors need not spread panic -- they can simply report to the authorities incognito

theircompetitor, Jan 26 2004

I guess DHS is getting pretty serious about this http://public.cq.co...0-000002524221.html
[theircompetitor, Jun 13 2007]

And, someone had a unit in late 2004 http://www.newscien...rticle.ns?id=dn6766
[theircompetitor, Jun 13 2007]

Newsweek article on subject http://www.newsweek.com/id/154987
[theircompetitor, Aug 25 2008]

Air quality sensors in cell phones http://www.mobilecr...quality-data-point/
[theircompetitor, Mar 12 2010]

Breathing mobile phone http://scitech.blog...hone-that-breathes/
[theircompetitor, Apr 26 2010]

Radiation monitoring phone, in japan http://www.telegrap...nitoring-phone.html
[theircompetitor, Oct 04 2011]


       I'd buy it. I guess I sort-of did. On e-bay about a year ago I picked myself up a surplus cold war geiger counter (get the one with the wand - the others aren't sensitive enough) just to see the radioactive world around me. Turns out there's a bit of very low level radioactivity, probably from rock formations, near Sonoma, CA (I mapped out my drive to work at the time).   

       I always wanted to mount it under the hood of my car and wire it to a PDA with GPS to be constantly updating a map of radioactivity. An added benefit would be that I'd be the first to know of a nuclear detonation. "The world is ending" could be a red light next to "check engine".
Worldgineer, Jan 27 2004

       There's a debate going on in the US about testing 100% of incoming containers for radioctivity and other agents. I'm all for it, but the money is mind boggling.
theircompetitor, Jan 27 2004

       Not sure why peopel voted this down... I've thought before about how it would be nice to have a geiger counter built into my phone. But then I would put it in my pocket next to my radioactive keychain and it would be going off all day...   

DIYMatt, Mar 12 2010

       Is this radioactive? there's an app for that.
AutoMcDonough, Mar 13 2010

       Great, distributed data collection. Have project dongle, will volunteer my cellphone battery for sensing.
wjt, Mar 17 2010

       I'm ashamed to admit that I misread the "l" in the title as an "n"
BunsenHoneydew, Mar 19 2010

       I was about to post "iGeiger" when I found this.   

       I can't believe that nobody has made a cheap Geiger counter as a consumer product. (They are available, but mostly on whacko-survival websites, and at stupid prices for inferior products.)   

       At present, Geigers (and the key component in them) are very expensive, but there's no reason why this need be so. Fluorescent light- bulbs would be as costly if they were made in similar numbers.   

       In Japan, now, absolutely nobody has any idea of the radiation levels they're being exposed to. Even in and around the plants themselves, there are reports of "a radiation monitor being brought in", as if it's some exotic piece of equipment.   

       People may die, or (as likely) may panic unnecessarily, as a result of an incredible lack of a simple device to measure something harmful.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 16 2011

       Most radiation monitors are in fact scintillation counters rather than Geiger-Muller tubes.   

       The problem is that, like most things, it's not as simple as it looks.   

       You need to discriminate between Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation, Neutrons, and also monitor contamination.   

       A relatively high dose of Gamma may not actually do too much harm; ingesting or inhaling a tiny amount of a virulent alpha emitter such as Polonium or Plutonium is extremely damaging.   

       There's a great deal of natural radioactivity about on your planet anyway; granite will diffuse dangerous amounts of Radon into any enclosed structure. Volcanoes spew out nuclides by the tonne. It's not a new thing.
8th of 7, Mar 16 2011

       All true, but not really the point. If I were in Tokyo right now, I would be very very happy to have with me my bog- standard GM from the lab. It won't pick up alpha (which is a big problem), but it'll do beta and gamma just fine. The reason we have it is that it is stupid to work with radioactive stuff when you have no way to monitor it. It's like being a gas-cooker installer with no sense of smell.   

       You can argue that the "average consumer" would be freaked out by background radiation or unimportant levels of contamination. But, give everyone a basic Geiger and the novelty of a background click click will wear off in a week. It would ultimately, perhaps, make people less paranoid about low-level radiation.   

       The recurring theme in Japan, and in all discussions of the hazards of radiation, is that "you can't see, hear or feel it". The lack of information available to the guy in the street is stunning.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 16 2011


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