Cell Phones to monitor the air and alert users to harmful chemicals and gases
By Mike Hanlon
October 1, 2006
October 2, 2006 One wonders what super powers our mobile phones might have a decade from now given the plethora of sensing technologies, miniaturisation and functionality being planned by various companies. Cell-phone-sensor technologies specialist Gentag’s latest patent (7,109,859) for a "Method and Apparatus for Wide Area Surveillance of a Terrorist or Personal Threat" certainly indicates that it won’t be long before our cell phones will be monitoring the air we breathe and alerting us if there’s something we should know regarding allergens, contaminants or harmful bacteria. Gentag also holds patents for the use of RFID readers incorporated into cell phones, which will provide consumers with innovations like smart skin patches to detect health conditions and smart food labels to help consumers to determine the freshness of produce and meat. Gentag also a cell phone with a UV sensor built-in (pictured) and inside, there's a person-specific Asthma Prevention Phone.
This latest Gentag patent provides one of the key technology components for the creation of next-generation "smart-cell-phone" technology, combining low-cost, wireless-sensor readers, smart-sensor modules, wireless networks, and geolocation for various consumer-market applications.Gentag's broad patent covers the uses of personal wireless devices such as cell phones, PDAs, pagers, or watches as low-cost customizable wireless-sensor readers to detect external environmental threats for consumer, industrial, and Government applications.
A particular focus of this particular technology is to allow individuals with multiple chemical sensitivities to customize and train their cell phones to recognize specific chemicals that cause person-specific allergies in order to help reduce asthma attacks or chemically induced allergies worldwide.
Asthma and chemical sensitivities are growing problems in an increasingly polluted world. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that the incidence rates for asthma worldwide are on average rising by 50% every decade.
Handset makers who employ the new Gentag technology can program their devices to detect virtually any kind of chemicals in the environment, from pollen and carbon monoxide to the noxious gases dispersed by criminals or terrorists.
Gentag also holds Patent US 2005/0088299 A1, “Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Based Sensor Networks” which covers the use of cell phones as readers for RFID sensors, and for creating RFID-based sensor networks.
The Gentag technology will provide consumers with innovations like smart skin patches to detect health conditions and smart food labels to help consumers to determine the freshness of produce and meat. Moreover, properly configured, the phone itself will be able to detect allergens, contaminants, and harmful bacteria.
By the end of 2006, an estimated 2.7 billion cell phones will be in use worldwide.
“Cell phones are the ideal vehicle by which consumers can better interact with their environments, to make informed real-time shopping decisions, to remotely monitor their homes or perform on-the-spot diagnostic tests for themselves and for those under their care,” says John Peeters, founder of Gentag.
By using RFID cell phones and combining these phones with low-cost passive RFID sensors currently under development by Gentag and other companies, a completely new paradigm in low-cost wireless sensor technology is unfolding. Passive RFID sensors are inexpensive, disposable, and have enormous potential for almost any market application.
Gentag plans to use its proprietary RFID-reference temperature sensor circuit to enable the development of passive RFID sensor technologies.
RFID cell phone readers will be available for both UHF and HF RFID frequencies and are currently under development with cell phone manufacturers in Korea, North America, and Europe.