Checking Radioactivity? There’s a Phone for That

Japanese mobile service provider Softbank says it will soon offer a mobile phone with a built in Geiger counter.

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Hand holding a cellphone with radiation sign.

With various parts of northeastern Japan still closed to visitors more than a year after a major earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, radiation is a constant worry among many Japanese. So what better way to capitalize on that fear than with a newfangled smartphone?

Mobile phone operator Softbank Corp. has announced it will release phones that double as radiation detectors, eliminating the need to carry around personal Geiger counters.

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The new smartphone, part of the Japan’s third largest mobile phone operator’s “Pantone” series that features brightly colored handsets, will go on sale this summer and allow users to track locations it has tested for radiation levels using custom-made chips that measure exposure levels in microsieverts per hour.

Softbank founder and president, Masayoshi Son, has remained an outspoken critic of nuclear power, a movement that has gathered steam in Japan since the Fukushima meltdown and ensuing fingerpointing among officials. “The threat from the nuclear accident cannot be seen by the human eye and continues to be a concern for many people, especially for mothers with small children,” Son said in a statement, according to MSNBC.

By choosing one of the eight colored phones—all at an affordable price, Son assures—Japanese consumers really have an all-in-one device for communicating radioactive-related information.

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