tawkon – track potential Phone Radiation with this application
May 8, 2012 8:55 AM –
tawkon is an app that monitors the time you spend on your mobile phone and determines whether your usage falls within safe levels. It will, for example, consider how many minutes you spend on your phone and importantly how these calls are taken- phone-to-ear, headset or on speaker phone. It argues that headset and speaker usage is safer and warns against holding the phone to your ear. The science behind this is interesting, but actually something I have researched quite a lot… so let me explain what’s going on and then I’ll review the application itself.
Tested on: HTC One X
Pros & Cons:
- Great user interface!
- Responsive to calls you make!
- Easy to add family and friends to the service!
- Weekly status reports!
- Might be perceived as being a bit fear-monger-ish considering there is no conclusive evidence to suggest phone radiation is dangerous.
- Might be improved by the ability to log into the service. If you reset your phone, etc. data will be lost.
- It would be good to read the latest reports and findings within the app, to stay better informed.
The Science bit:
Right so there’s a train of thought that argues that, as phones emit low-level radiation (as do most electronic devices) holding them up to your ear frequently, and for long periods of time is bad for you. We automatically hear ‘radiation’ and think nuclear fallout, cancer and other massive health risks. It perhaps should be noted that there are different types of radiation, if you ever stand in sunlight or hover near a microwave- both emit radiation on some level.
There has been a large amount of scientific research into the matter but there has never been any conclusive evidence to show mobile phone radiation causes health problems. The conclusion was reached by the latest study that the time period in which this research has taken place- over 15 years now (and continuing) is not enough to completely rule out health risks.
On this basis, organisations such as the World Health Organisation have said that there is a ‘possibility’ device usage can cause health problems, but that research is ongoing. This all comes down to the fact that, while there’s little evidence to suggest it is harmful, research is inconclusive and thus must continue. I also discovered that, if you live in the UK, you can take part in this research yourself. Visit this website for more details.
If you therefore wish to err on the side of caution, tawkon is an attractive and easy to use app which helps you monitor exposure to mobile phone radiation. While there isn’t much information of this kind within the app itself, the website is an absolute trove of useful info, scientific research and news stories.
Before we get down to the functionality, it has to be said that tawkon is a very nice looking app, It has an animated and cartoony-theme yet comes across as well developed and very professional. It’s very easy to use and configuration is a breeze. What the app essentially does is monitor what happens when you make or receive calls, specifically if you hold the device to your head, use the speaker or wear a headset. It follows what minutes you have spent doing what and determines your exposure to mobile radiation. Naturally, the encouragement is to try to use your headset or speakerphone as often as possible.
All you need to do essentially is activate the app, and it does it all for you. You’ll notice a small icon in your status bar which indicates it’s monitoring during calls and this (usually) updates the stats which you view within the app itself. You can sign up for a weekly status report, add family members to an in-app group and monitor what’s occurring on their phones too. Now, this review has required me to only use the app over a very short period of time, so therefore it’s difficult to comment on its ongoing performance, status reports and notifications. However, I shall more than likely revisit this review and update it once I’ve used the app for a number of weeks.
I was a little concerned by the animations the app uses which, considering there is no conclusive evidence that mobile phone radiation is dangerous, is perhaps a bit daunting. Sad faces even after using your phone for 1 minute perhaps sends a more negative message than the app intends. Also, there is no means to register with the service. This means if you have to restart your phone, your collected data is lost. If there was a means to login and track your usage wholly (perhaps you use more than one device), this might create a more accurate analysis.
Where there is a question mark over whether mobile phone radiation is dangerous, there’s also a question mark over whether you need an app like this. However, here’s where tawkon makes lots of sense. It simply asserts that ‘information is power’. If at some point scientific research concludes that there are health risks associated to mobile phone usage, AND the levels of radiation emitted is high enough to cause such problems, your careful monitoring of exposure via an app like tawkon demonstrates foresight and caution. Using the app long term, and trying to limit exposure, might prove to be incredibly astute for your health.
If you need more reason to try it out, consider the fact that Steve Jobs personally refused the app when it was mooted for release on iPhone… curious huh?
Watch on Mobile
tawkon – Dashboard page
tawkon – Basic profile
tawkon – Add family
tawkon – Splash page
tawkon – tutorial page 2
tawkon – Tutorial page 3
tawkon – Tutorial page 4
tawkon – More page
tawkon – Alert settings
tawkon – Settings
The app promptly and efficiently monitors levels of radiation being emitted from your mobile device. It accumulates this into a small chart which shows your exposure, encouraging use of headsets and speakerphones. If one day it is proven that such radiation is harmful, even in the small doses received by using a mobile device, careful adherence to this advice might even save you health problems… I stress the word ‘might‘!
Ease of Use:
It’s simple; scroll through the tutorial pages which explain the app and its functions. Sign up for the weekly report by submitting your email address, Specify whether you are male or female (not sure why though) and you’re all done. Info is displayed on a simple dashboard screen; minutes used, alongside high and low exposure levels. There are also tabs to invite and monitor your family’s usage.
It kicks in whenever you make or receive a call.
The interface is very well designed and polished. From the app itself and the plush website- containing plenty of information about the app, the science and the overall debate- definitely check it out.