tawkon-appWhile most activists say that cellphone usage is dangerous and radiation emitted by mobiles are dangerous, an Israeli startup has taken a different approaching to tackle this issue. Instead of calling for a ban on cellphone, they are calling for education, which allows users to take control of their exposure to radiation by providing the right information.

Israeli entrepreneurs Gil Friedlander, Amit Lubovsky and Ori Goshen founded tawkon in 2009. The app has a very colorful history. It was first launched as jailbroken iPhone app in 2010, after being rejected from the App Store. It was also launched as a Blackberry app. In 2010, The beta Android app was launched in 2010 and only in April 2012 was  and the full version of the tawkon application launched.

The way tawkon works is very interesting. It makes a prediction of radiation exposure based on a proprietary algorithm. A weak network signal means a phone has to boost its radio frequency output in order to make and receive calls. The tawkon algorithm takes into account variables like network type, band-GSM, UMTS, CDMA, channel, signal strength, phone model, and other stuff, to predict the boost and alerts the user when there is a spike in RF output.

FCC certified electromagnetic-field-testing company Satimo has tested tawkon and found it was able able to predict SAR levels almost as well as actual radiation-detecting equipment. Specific absorption rate (SAR) is a measure of the rate at which energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to a radio frequency (RF) electromagnetic field.

While most do publish the SAR levels of the phone, it is often hidden in the manual somewhere and most people will probably never get a good look at it. Actual radiation output and exposure can be subject to a wide range of variables including the distance the device is held from the head, voice vs. data, distance from the cell tower, signal strength and even carrier.

The tawkon app for Android notifies users when they may be experiencing “high exposure” so that a user can take precautionary methods including changing cell phone habits and using Bluetooth headsets.

While the app can’t be precise since it does not have a built-in Geiger counter, the algorithm which is tried and tested seems to be pretty reliable.

Review

The tawkon’s interface consists of a beautiful, bright dashboard, with a optimistic feel to it. Something we feel is perfect for an app which deals with such a serious issue. The app works in the background when one makes or receives a call and lets you know if you’re experiencing low exposure or high exposure.

The app also keeps track of stats including total talk time for the month (broken down by phone, headset and speaker) and indicates how many minutes of that total took place during high exposure periods. The app can even e-mail you a monthly report.

When it detects you are high exposure, it gives you tips on how to reduce the amount of radiation. It is most likely to tell you to switch to a headset or speakerphone.

The app can also alert you before you make a call in area where there are low signal and levels of radiation are likely to be high.

The app also has a social element where one can invite family or friends and then share your readings with them.

While most people may be skeptical of apps like this, we say give it a try, even if just for a month and see if you need to change your cell phone habits. In a country where more often than not we are faced with low signals, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

India & Cell Phone Radiation

A few month back, the government issued guidelines to control electromagnetic radiations and asked operators to cut radiation levels by 1/10th from the existing standards, making India one of the few countries to have such strict controls on radiation levels.

A couple of months later, Supreme Court declined to intervene in setting up independent mobile radiation control body on a plea by lawyer and well known India Against Corruption member Prashanth Bhushan.

twakon for Android is a free app and can be downloaded from here.

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