iPhone Geiger Counter Calls Out Concealed Radioactivity

As Japanese citizens (and foreign visitors) try to get their lives back to normal in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, an unseen menace lurks: radioactive particles originating from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

Spreading widely via drops of rainwater and motes of windblown dust, these long-lived nucleotides can accumulate to form “hotspots” in areas far removed from Fukushima itself. What to do?

One solution is to buy a portable Geiger counter; when it starts a-clickin', those flowers don't be a-pickin'. It's not quite that simple, though. “Immediately after the disaster triggered by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11 in the northeast of the archipelago,” explained Japanese researcher Takuma Mori (left) to AFP, “the cheapest Geiger counters cost 60,000 yen (about $780 or 570 euros) and were hard to find.”

As a consequence, cheap but poorly made Geiger counters from China were exported to Japan and sold well. The unreliable readings they provided, however, either gave people a false sense of security or frightened them unnecessarily.

Enter Mori, who knew what had to be done and had the technical smarts to make it happen. The result is the Geiger Fukushima iPhone (????FUKUSHIMA), a quality Geiger counter that's also inexpensive. Mori was able to bring the Geiger Fukushima's selling price down to 9,800 yen (about $127) by assuming buyers would hook it up to their iPhones, thus letting Apple's wunderkind handle the display functions while a custom app from the iTunes store handles the data processing. By comparison, a stand-alone version with a built-in LCD screen is also available but it's priced at 24,800 yen ($320).

The Geiger Fukushima iPhone version has a measuring range of 0.04 to 20 microsieverts per hour. It's powered by a single AAA battery giving a continuous usage time of 200 hours. The weight (including battery) is 70g (2.5 oz) and the size is 138 x 32 x 25mm or (5.4 x 1.3 x 1"). It attaches to your iPhone via an included 14cm (5.6”) long cable.

Last and certainly not least, both versions of the Geiger Fukushima are actually made in Fukushima! Japan Trend Shop is currently accepting pre-orders for the Geiger Fukushima iPhone, priced at $207 plus $20 for worldwide express shipping beginning November 30th. (via TG Daily and TechCrunch)

EDITOR'S UPDATE: While this particular item is still not available in the U.S., a similar iPhone Geiger Counter Device is now available and being sold on Amazon and other vendors. 

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