The Pocket Geiger, which is housed in a “Frisk” mint box, is offered by non-profit organization, Radiation Watch. Eight potodiodide sensors detect radiation and alpha and beta particles are screened using aluminum foil, according to New Scientist. The iPhone crunches the numbers and gives you a reading. After a reading is taken, it uploads the data to Radiation Watch, where it is plotted on a map that is shared among other members — a crowd-sourced, independent radiation monitoring service. The device requires its own battery.
The second generation of the device, Pokega Type 2, which was released by the same team with assistance from Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization and the Dutch Metrology Institute, runs off the phone’s battery.
Who would want a portable Geiger counter? As someone who lived in Japan before, during and after the March 11, 2011, earthquake, this author can confidently raise his hand. Lack of faith in government reporting led to radiation fears and a shortage of detection equipment prompted some truly opportunistic behavior: prices for relatively low-end Geiger counters, that would normally retail for $200-300 were selling for three times their usual price.
The Pocket Geiger and Pockega Type 2 are priced at $46 and $65, respectively. Given the price, they are probably going to be less accurate than standalone devices, but the large user-base and the shared information should make it easy to verify measurements using readings from other users who are located nearby. Could something like this sell in the United States? Not on any sort of scale that would make it useful. Prior to the meltdown in Fukushima, it would not have sold in Japan.