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"Radioactivity-Meter" Turns Smartphones into Geiger Counters

Hmm.. here’s a way to turn your camera into a Geiger counter. Imagine that you can use your camera to detect radiation. The app uses the fact, that the camera chip of a smartphone is influenced by several kinds of noise, e.g., thermal noise etc. The radioactive radiation (primarily gamma radiation, and to a certain extent beta radiation) changes the internal ratio and amount of noise. "Radioactivity-Meter" succeeds in analyzing these changes for the camera image and calculates the radiation causing these changes.

Smartphones with Android operating system can now be used to measure the ambient radioactive radiation. SpitConsult’s app "Radioactivity-Meter" uses the noise induced by the radioactive radiation in the smartphone’s camera chip, to detect and quantify the radioactivity.

In light of the catastrophe of Fukushima, SpitConsult developed this app to give people a cheap tool to estimate the ambient radioactivity. "Many people want to know, if they are, or could be contaminated by radioactive radiation, but not all can purchase a Geiger counter," said Hans Schorn, director of SpitConsult. "Let’s develop an usable alternative."

Since camera chips differ in sensitivity, "Radioactivity-Meter" must be calibrated for each smartphone once, then the accuracy of measurement should suffer to distinguish the intensity of radioactivity e.g., on ground and in an aircraft in 10000 meter altitude.

More informations on . "Radioactivity-Meter" runs on smartphones with Android operating system version 2.1 or higher and is available on Android Market for US$ 4.99.

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