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Japanese Phone Detects Radiation, Bad Breath

September 28, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Diagnostic Imaging, Emergency Radiology
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Japan’s top mobile phone operator plans to introduce a new smartphone with three removable “jackets,” one of which will measure radiation levels.

One of the other two jackets will measure acetone in the breath and produce a reading on how hungry the user is and how fast he or she is burning fat. The third will compute the level of skin-damaging ultraviolet light and check the breath for alcohol smells or general halitosis.

You can understand why Japanese customers might want a radiation detector. The AFP news agency quoted Daisuke Sakuma, spokesman for the  cellular carrier NTT DoCoMo, as explaining:

Many customers have been nervous about radiation since the Great East Japan Earthquake. We had been thinking what services we can provide to address these customer needs as a telecom carrier.

The quake and tsunami of March 11 damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is still leaking radiation.

As for the other “”customer needs” the new phone system will address, well, Japanese consumers are famous for their love of exotic features on their mobile phones, even if they can’t even figure out how to use them.

Each of the interchangeable jackets (which slip over the phone itself) will have unique sensors and software that will work in conjunction with the base phone. NTT DoCoMo plans to exhibit the phones at a major Japanese trade show next week. There’s no word about when the phones might come to market.

It will be interesting to see whether the jacket concept catches on. U.S. cell phone users, especially those with iPhones or Android phones, are used to adding features via apps—purely through software, in other words. The hardware-software combination of the jackets could extend the phones’ capabilities even further because of the enhanced hardware. But upgrades would require a physical purchase—hardly as convenient as a virtual visit to the app store.

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Related seminar: ALARA – CT (As Low As Reasonably Achievable)

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