Fast information -

Science and Technology

Future Mobile Phones Could Monitor Health-Magazine

LONDON (Reuters) - Mobile phones in the future could prove to be lifesavers in accidents and disasters by monitoring vital life signs like breathing, New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.

Bell Labs, owned by New Jersey-based Lucent Technologies, is planning to modify mobile phones with a special circuit that can pick up the owner's vital signs.

``The Bell Labs engineers, led by husband-and-wife team Victor Lubecke and Olga Boric-Lubecke, noticed that some of the microwaves transmitted by a mobile phone antenna bounce back to the phone from the chest, heart and lungs of the person using it,'' the weekly magazine said.

The radiation bouncing off the lung while it is expanding is pushed closely together, raising frequency, and a contracting lung lowers it.

``We're talking about very low frequency signals. They're easy to separate from a voice,'' Lubecke told the magazine.

The phone could also be used to monitor heart rate and breathing, he said. But to pick up the signals it must be held steady for a few seconds.

Although the phone needs to be turned on, it doesn't have to be answered, making it ideal to check on people trapped in rubble from an earthquake or who are unconscious.

The researchers said mobile phone networks will have to be modified because they treat the interference information as unwanted noise and discard it. A software change to retain and interpret the signals would be needed.

``So while the jury is still out on cellphone looks like cellphones may have at least some health benefits on the horizon,'' the magazine added.


Science and Technology
Copyright © 1998-2014