Skip to Content
Uncategorized

How to Reduce Cell-Phone Radiation Exposure

A new network architecture could dramatically reduce the radiation exposure from cell phones.

Here’s a simple idea for creating a cell-phone network that minimizes the radiation exposure for callers while maximizing the battery life of handsets.

Today’s cell-phone networks consist of base stations that both transmit and receive signals. The strength of the signals that a handset has to generate depends on how far away it is from such a base station. Obviously, handsets in smaller cells transmit at a lower power, reducing the user’s radiation exposure.

So in theory, you could reduce users’ radiation exposure from handsets by reducing the size of the cells that each base station serves. But in practice, that isn’t possible because people who live nearby naturally object to the constant exposure that a base station would expose them to.

But Doron Ezri and Shimi Shilo at Greenair Wireless, an Israeli startup, have dreamed up a way around this. Their idea is to enhance existing networks by adding large numbers of base stations that only receive signals and are connected up to the rest of the network via a landline or a line-of-sight microwave link.

This creates large numbers of microcells in which the handsets can transmit at low power while the existing base stations continue to do the transmitting. So during any conversation, the handset transmits to one of the new nearby base stations but receives from a more distant conventional base station.

And since the new base stations only receive, there shouldn’t be the same kind of objections to putting them up. At least that’s what Ezri and Shilo think.

Although the jury is still out on the health risks of mobile-phone radiation exposure, it seems wise to employ the precautionary principle whenever possible. Greenair is the startup that Ezri and Shilo have created to commercialize the idea, which should improve battery life to boot.

Good luck to them, but a word of advice: never underestimate the power of the NIMBYs.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0906.5289: Green Cellular–Optimizing the Cellular Network for Minimal Emission from Mobile Stations

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Russian servicemen take part in a military drills
Russian servicemen take part in a military drills

How a Russian cyberwar in Ukraine could ripple out globally

Soldiers and tanks may care about national borders. Cyber doesn't.

Death and Jeff Bezos
Death and Jeff Bezos

Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever

Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.

ai learning to multitask concept
ai learning to multitask concept

Meta’s new learning algorithm can teach AI to multi-task

The single technique for teaching neural networks multiple skills is a step towards general-purpose AI.

mouse engineered to grow human hair
mouse engineered to grow human hair

Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way

These biotech companies are reprogramming cells to treat baldness, but it’s still early days.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.