Geiger Counter App for Android Phones

For anyone who’s ever wanted to use their smartphone to measure radiation, there’s now a Geiger counter app for Android phones. It’s called GammaPix and it’s able to loosely measure gamma radiation by using the smartphone’s camera. According to BetaNews, it’s not meant to be used in emergency situations or to replace an actual Geiger counter, but it’s still a pretty interesting app considering what it’s able to do.

Geiger Counter App for Android Phones

Geiger Counter App for Android

Use your Android phone like a Geiger counter. Photo by Leonardo Rizzi.

The GammaPix gimmick is that it can detect radiation in different everyday situations, such as cosmic radiation while flying in an airplane, or gamma radiation in medical waste. You simply pull up the app, and begin taking a reading. Under normal circumstances, the camera can grab a complete reading in about five minutes.

The application uses technology that analyzes video and still imagery for the signature of gamma rays that have hit the image sensor. The measurements themselves indicate the rate of interactions of gamma ray radiation with the particular camera being used, so different phones will yield different results. Image Insight formed in 2010 with the explicit purpose of developing this app under a $679,000 contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The application is in no way a replacement for a Geiger Counter or Scintillation Counter, and is intended only for use in non-emergency settings where radiation could be present, furthermore the app only provides non-quantitative measurements for observing variations in gamma ray exposure.

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If you’re curious about it and want to try it out for yourself, you can find this Geiger counter app for Android in Google Play as a free trial. It’s compatible with phones running Android 2.3 and higher, but it may or may not work depending on your phone. BetaNews was apparently unable to get the app to work on a Galaxy Nexus, so just because you have a high end phone doesn’t necessarily mean it will work. Let us know if you’ve tried it out and what your thoughts are on it in the comments below!

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