Phone App Converts Cameras Into Radioactive Sensors For Bomb Detection

Radioactivity is emitted by a whole range of materials. Most high-radioactive materials are dangerous and are also used in creating bombs. Steve McCown, a notable digital security expert, has created a new app that turns smartphones into Gieger counters, enabling them to measure radioactivity on the go. By turning smartphone cameras into radioactive sensor, the app can help first responders detect bombs.


Camera sensors are able to discern radioactive particles when they are present. Banking on this feature, McCown and his team decided to develop an app which can measure radioactivity and whenever it is higher than usual, alert the user. The app, McCown believes, can be critically helpful for first responders all over the world.

Imagine the incident at Japan’s Fukushima plant. The first responders were unaware when the radioactivity levels grew beyond usual and while trying to rescue the workers at the plant. The responders were also unaware as to which regions are safe and which aren’t.

However, the new app from INL, called CellRAD, can change this. According to Scott Brown, an engineer at INL who has also worked on this project, “The important thing about this innovation is that they’re passive sensors. (First responders) can go about their regular day and only be interrupted if there is an incident they need to respond to.”

Another excellent feature that the team has added to this app is that once multiple users start using the app, the server at the back-end is able to receive the data and then create a radioactivity grid based on this data. In this way, the grid is able to show the regions which are safe as well as the regions where radioactivity levels are dangerously high. This, in turn, can be of critical significance for members of firefighting squad, law-enforcement agencies and many other government bodies.

Courtesy: KSL

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