Notre Dame researchers target cell phone radiation


Pretty soon your phone may be able to run more efficiently and expose you to less radiation, thanks to the work of engineers at the University of Notre Dame.

You might not realize it, but when you pick up your cell phone, there's radiation.

"Any wireless device that is transmitting any kind of energy will expose the person holding the device and everyone nearby to some form of electromagnetic radiation," said Bert Hochwald.

The research is part of a large project funded to the tune of $1.2 million by the National Science Foundation. There is a professor and student team at both Purdue and Illinois.

The main research, though, is happening in a small room in the engineering buildingwhere Bert Hochwald and his team are working on the future, as part of Notre Dame's Wireless Institute.

"The goal here is to basically build a better phone," Hochwald said.

Has your phone ever dropped a call, or you struggle to connect to the Internet? By increasing your phone's connectivity, the team is working to address frustrating phone problems, all the while limiting your exposure to radiation.

"[Our method] is to have the transmitter on the phone distribute its energy around the phone, rather than the one spot as it's typically done today," said Hochwald.

The lab's cutting-edge technology is helping them map their progress.

"Inside that mannequin are electrical probes to measure the amount of electric field that is going into the head and being absorbed by the head," said Hochwald, gesturing towards his high-tech replica of a person using a cell phone.

Right now, the team is a little more than a year into their three-year research grant, but if all goes according to plan, you could have better calls and at the same time, stay within the guidelines of what is considered safe.

Professor Hochwald says even though he's working to reduce radiation, that doesn't mean current phones are unsafe. It's just his belief that they could be more efficient.

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