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Your smartphone can detect cosmic rays

Can your smartphone detect very high-energy cosmic rays that hit the Earth from space? Yes, say physicists.

tech reviews Updated: Oct 17, 2014 15:53 IST
smartphone

Can your smartphone detect very high-energy cosmic rays that hit the Earth from space? Yes, say physicists.

Researchers from University of California have tested that a smartphone camera can detect high energy photons and particles of the sort produced by cosmic rays.

Testing with radioactive isotopes of radium, cobalt, and cesium showed that the detector easily picked up gamma rays.

They also put a phone inside a lead box and showed that they could detect high energy particles.

Finally, researchers took a phone up on a commercial flight and were able to obtain a particle track across the detector.

The project is called CRAYFIS (Cosmir RAYS Found In Smartphones).

When your phone is inactive and plugged in for charging, CRAYFIS monitors the camera, looking for signs of high-energy items striking the detector, arstechnica website reported.

According to researchers, if they can get 1,000 active cell phones within a square km area, they will be able to detect nearly all of the high energy cosmic rays that strike the atmosphere.