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New application measures cellphone radiation

posted 13 Sept 2010, 05:46 by Mpelembe   [ updated 13 Sept 2010, 05:49 ]

A new application can measure in real time the radiation mobile phones emit and offers ways to reduce it. The programme's Israeli developers say they hope it will become the norm to want to know how much radiation your phone is emitting.

An Israeli-developed software that can measure mobile handsets' radiation emission in real time will soon be available for downloads for Google's Android-based phones and Nokia's Symbian.

The application, developed by the Israeli based Tawkon company, is already available for downloading on Research In Motion's BlackBerry handsets.

Gil Friedlander, Tawkon (pronounced talk-on) co-founder and CEO, told Reuters that his company is the first to provide a solution that can be downloaded to a phone.

"Tawkon is a software application that as a client you download to your phone and runs in the background and monitors the radiation your phone emits all the time."

Tawkon's application, says Friedlander, is designed to allow the user the most comfortable yet efficient way to manage the amount of radiation he or she are exposed to.

"What we actually suggest is that you continue and talk as usual. Once we detect that you reach a certain threshold or what we call a red zone we define a threshold level, you'll get a very subtle alert or vibration. You can ignore it but if you look at the screen it will provide you some suggestion of how to minimize your radiation while keeping maintaining the call."

Tawkon's application will offer users ways of reducing radiation emission that can range from changing the way one holds their phone -- on many phones the antenna is on the bottom and often covered by the user's hand -- connecting an ear piece or switching on speakerphone. In addition, Tawkon is connected to GPS and the software will show users where to move to reach a "green zone" and reduce exposure.

The application's aim is not to scare users, 44-year old Canadian-born Friedlander says, but to help them use their mobile phones in a safer way.

"None of us will stop using our phones, we're avid phone users but we pitch to talk responsibly. Know when radiation is high, when it's low, and take very simple precautionary measures that will allow you to continue use your phone and minimize your exposure to mobile phone radiation," he said.

The Israeli company was founded in the basement of partner Amit Lubovsky's home in 2009. The initial investment came from private investors in Canada, Israel and the United States.

Friedlander, an industrial engineer, did not disclose how much Tawkon raised but said they have begun another funding round to pay for the expansion into Android-based and Symbian phones as well as new geographies, mainly North America.

Tawkon initially targeted its software for the iPhone, but Apple rejected it in March for sale in its App store.

But iPhone users have started a petition calling on Apple to make the application available, Friedlander added.

Tawkon has also introduced another model, which allows for a free trial before the user must purchase it for $9.99.

In the future Friedlander hopes for the user's costs to be covered by mobile phones manufacturers, concerned employers or advertisement so everybody could access the application.

"In a year from now I hope that we'll be installed on hundred of millions of phones, that will be something that will be a necessity, that people will not understand how they used their phones without this application. Many people say this is a must (have) application, something that should on the phone, should be integrated with the phone and hopefully Tawkon will be able to reach many of these users," he said.

Friedlander would not disclose how many users Tawkon has but said every three days the number of downloads doubles. Though Tawkon generates revenue it is not yet profitable.

Tawkon plans to expand to more handsets and is in talks with several handset makers and mobile operators for partnerships.