Homeland Security and the iPhone

Smartphones such as the iPhone have become the next indispensible electronic gadget, possibly even more than the laptop. With the amount of features being fitted into such a small device, it is now being dubbed as the Swiss pocketknife of electronic gadgets.  This smartphone from Apple has the ability to download and play a variety of content, take pictures, send and receive emails. With the functionality of the iPhone, even the American government is taking notice.

One of the more recent sectors taking interest with what the Apple smartphone can do is the Department of Homeland Security. The department’s Science and Technology Directorate is most especially interested in seeing if they can use the device to detect hazardous materials and toxins.

The department is working in collaboration with numerous other companies, namely Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung and LG to incorporate a chip into the Apple smartphone which would make it capable of sensing dangerous chemicals. Referred to as the Cell-All Initiative, this project would hopefully produce a low-cost chip, amounting to only $1 each. The initial products will hopefully enable the iPhone to function much like a smoke detector or alarm, able to detect levels of carbon monoxide and even fire smoke. Owners will have an option of whether to be notified by call, text message or the smartphone vibrating if there are any unusually high levels present in the area.

If the initial project is successful on the market and as an actual functional product, the S&T Directorate hopes to expand their research and collaboration even further to detect and inform users of attacks using sarin gas. Whether or not people believe in terrorism, technology is being developed to catch up. The iPhone is evolving to more than just a device for entertainment. It is now being developed to protect you, the consumer.

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