Not only does a “death grip” cut into your phone’s ability to connect, it also increases the amount of radio-frequency radiation it’s pumping out.
Now you can see exactly how much more radiation your head is absorbing, with an app that estimates the RF output of your smartphone in real time.
Israeli mobile software company Tawkon Monday released a video that shows its app measuring the impact a “death grip” can have on a mobile device’s radiation. Â Using the app, an iPhone 4, BlackBerry Bold, and Google Nexus One all show a significant increase in RF radiation when held tightly in the user’s palm.
That’s to be expected: Whenever a cellphone has difficulty connecting with a cell tower, it increases its RF output in order to maintain the connection. Anything that interferes with that connection — be it a death grip, stepping into an elevator, or locating yourself in a low-signal area — will increase any phone’s RF output.
So is Tawkon suggesting that the infamous “death grip” can actually be detrimental to the user’s health?
“Tawkon doesnâ€™t advocate that the death grip is necessarily unsafe, because final answers on the health ramifications of mobile phone usage wonâ€™t be known for decades, until researchers have had that time to track long-term usage and impact,” Tawkon co-founder Amit Lubovsky told Wired. Â ”However, recent studies do indicate a health impact of mobile phone radiation on mobile phone users, especially on people whose usage is termed excessive and cumulative. Until the long-term studies are concluded (decades from now), Tawkon believes consumers should have the right and ability to minimize their exposure to mobile phone radiation.”
Most ongoing studies cannot yet draw a causal link between cell phone usage and physical disorders, and Tawkon should know, since the company follows many of these studies.
The World Health Organization’s Interphone study, 2009 study from the Environmental Working Group measured the radiation from more than 1,200 mobile phone models. While the EWG study could not draw any conclusions as to the risks of mobile phone use, it did provide the beginnings of the group’s database of mobile phones and their emissions.
Currently, the group ranks the Motorola Droid, iPhone 3GS, Google Nexus One, BlackBerry Bold 9700, and Samsung Instinct HD as the top five most radio-emissive phones. All of them, however, fall within the FCC’s acceptable SAR (specific absorption rate) limit of 1.6 watts per kilogram (1.6 W/kg).
The Tawkon application gets all its information about the phone’s radiation from the cellular protocol stack that manages the baseband modem.
“We use this information in the form of different RF parameters extracted from the device itself,” Lubovsky said. “We then take into consideration the proximity of the phone to the user –for example if the phone is held against the userâ€™s ear or on the userâ€™s lap– to help determine the actual exposure level at any given time.”
“As part of the production procedure we have, each device goes through a long calibration process in an RF lab prior to its release to make sure that our measurements meet the actual values,” he continued.
Tawkon is only available on the BlackBerry platform via App World, Mobihand, and Handango, but not on Android or iOS as shown in the video.
“It works on the iPhone but weâ€™re waiting for Apple approval to make it publicly available,” Lubovsky said. “Android is expected to launch very soon.”
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Cellphone â€˜Death Gripâ€™ Increases Radiation Exposure, One App Shows
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