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Turning smart phones into chemical sensors

Turning smart phones into chemical sensors

Credit: KVUE News

by TERRI GRUCA / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TerriG_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on March 11, 2010 at 9:25 AM

For those of you who already think you’re being outsmarted by your smart phone wait until you read this.

We’re all used to our cell phones allowing us to take pictures , listen to music, surf the Internet, even watch TV these days. However, the newest work being done may turn your cell phone into a life saving device.

Work is underway to create Cell-All. It’s a project spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security and would equip your cell phone with a sensor capable of detecting deadly chemicals.

Here’s how it is supposed to work: Cell-All would sniff the surrounding air for certain chemicals. Then send you an alert or a warning in the form of a vibration, text message or phone call, whatever you choose. For super dangerous chemicals like a sarin gas attack, an anonymous phone call is sent to the nearest emergency operations center. Within 60 seconds emergency workers will have the time, location and the compound.

Researchers feel that automatic calling system can save lives without putting people in more danger. There will be people concerned about this being an invasion of privacy, but this will be something that requires people to opt-in and researchers say all of the information is transmitted anonymously.

This project is still in the works with teams from NASA helping with the development. There is also a separate project underway with several phone manufacturers. So the thinking is this technology could be available in a few years.

What do you think about this? Share your thoughts below.

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