[AI] Cell phone sensors to prevent nuclear terrorism
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Sat Jan 26 05:48:54 EST 2008
The Hindu News Update Service
News Update Service
Saturday, January 26, 2008 : 1140 Hrs
Cell phone sensors to prevent nuclear terrorism
New York, (PTI): Scientists in the United States are in the final stages of developing a system that would use a network of cell phones to detect and track
radiation to help prevent terrorist attacks with radiological "dirty bombs" and nuclear weapons.
The researchers at Purdue University in the US tested the system in November, demonstrating that it is capable of detecting even a weak radiation source
15 feet from the sensors.
"We set up a test source on campus, and people randomly walked around carrying these detectors," said Jere Jenkins, Director of Purdue's radiation laboratories
within the School of Nuclear Engineering.
"The test was extremely safe because we used a very weak, sealed radiation source, and we went through all of the necessary approval processes required
for radiological safety. This was a source much weaker than you would see with a radiological dirty bomb," the ScienceDaily online quoted him as saying
Professor Ephraim Fischbach, who is working with Jenkins on the project, said the system is "meant to be small, cheap and eventually built into laptops,
personal digital assistants and cell phones."
Such a system could blanket a country with millions of cell phones equipped with radiation sensors that would detect even light radioactive material.
Professor Fischbach said because cell phones already contain global positioning locators, the network of phones would serve as a tracking system.
"The system would transmit signals to a data center, and the data center would transmit information to authorities without alerting the person carrying
the phone," he said.
In addition to detecting radiological "dirty bombs", the system also could be used to detect nuclear weapons, which create a nuclear chain reaction that
causes a powerful explosion.
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