New Japanese Smartphone Case Doubles as Radiation Monitor

Japan's largest mobile phone service provider, NTT DoCoMo, has produced a prototype cellphone case that adds a radiation detecting function to your smartphone.

The changeable “jacket”, as the company calls it, is scheduled to be introduced to the public at the 2011 Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) show being held in Tokyo from October 4th through 11th.

The concept is interesting in that the jacket is the active component, not the phone itself. By integrating dedicated sensors into different jackets, smartphone owners can keep their unmodified phones and simply swap out the jackets as required.

This video from Penn-Olson describes the so-called “smart cases” debuting at CEATEC:

According to a DoCoMo spokesman, "We had been thinking what services we can provide to address these customer needs as a telecom carrier."

The comment referred to the continuing concern over the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and the release of radioactive isotopes into the environment following the March 11th Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Using sensors integrated into the jacket, smartphone users will be able to view real-time radiation levels ranging from 0.01 microsieverts to 100 millisieverts per hour. As well, users will be able to access measured radiation values over time, displayed on a map that works with whichever global positioning system happens to be available on their particular carrier's smartphone.

While the potential for exposure to radiation during their daily travels is an issue consumers communicated to NTT DoCoMo, more pedestrian concerns have also been addressed by the company.

It's expected that smartphone jackets capable of monitoring users' proportion of body fat, ambient ultraviolet light levels, blood alcohol percentages and even whether the user has bad breath have all progressed to the prototype stage and will be on display at CEATEC. (via Penn-Olson, Japan World and Asahi News)

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