Journalist: Yuval Rosenberg
May 12, 1999
Worried about hazards associated with your cell phone? A new microchip that will soon hit the market aims to ease your mind. The chip, manufactured by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based EMX Group, supposedly negates any effects of handset radiation by jamming the phone signal with its own, randomly fluctuating pattern.
While cell phones have not been shown to have adverse health effects, they do have proven biological effects (such as changing chemical levels in the body), says researcher Theodore Litovitz of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Litovitz began studying the effects of radio waves as part of an Army research project in the late 1980s. He concluded that any potentially hazardous effects of handset radiation could be blocked by superimposing a random signal, thereby preventing brain cells from being exposed to steady pulses of radiation. “There’s no conclusive proof these phones can damage your health,” says Litovitz. “There’s also no proof they can’t damage your health. We’re in limbo right now. So our argument is, just put the fluctuating chip in the phone and go about your business.”
Phone manufacturers have so far opted to go about their business without the new chip, says EMX Group CEO Thomas Magnussen. Instead, the technology will be available starting next month as part of ten to 20 models of cell-phone batteries. The chips will add about $37 to the price of cell-phone batteries and be compatible with 80 to 90 percent of phones on the market, Magnussen says