Radiation is emitted by almost everything around us – from readily known sources like microwaves, X-ray machines, and radios, to less suspected sources like the water we drink and our body’s own potassium. It is important to know that there are two main kinds of radiation: non-ionizing and ionizing.
Non-ionizing radiation includes visible light, microwaves and radio frequency waves. This type of radiation has the energy required to vibrate electrons in an atom or molecule, but it’s not sufficient to bump an electron from an atom to ionize it. On the other hand, exposure to ionizing radiation might be more dangerous as this type of radiation has enough energy to remove an electron and ionize an atom.
Exposure to ionizing radiation can lead to DNA and tissue damage in the human body, which poses serious health risks over time. However, many of us have no idea how much ionizing radiation we are exposed to on a daily basis. This is why personal dosimeters were created.
Mirion Technologies, a company based in Irvine, California that’s been in the radiation detection and protection business for years, recently launched Dosime, their new user-friendly, smart electronic personal dosimeter. Dosime is able to calculate and determine the amount of ionizing radiation a person is exposed to on a daily basis. We at Medgadget had the chance to test this unique device firsthand.
Appearance and Set-up
Dosime comes with a charging dock and a straightforward user manual. The actual device is small, slim, and oblong, with a glossy, white plastic finish that gives it a futuristic look. It is lightweight with a clip on the back to attach the device to the user’s clothes if desired.
Setting up Dosime is simple. You plug the charging dock into an outlet, and slide the device into the dock to begin charging. A free app can be downloaded to an iOS or Android mobile devices, and Dosime can connect to the mobile device and home networks via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Dosime uses a Silicone Diode to detect and measure ionizing radiation exposure. This is the same system utilized by nearly all nuclear power plants and NATO forces due to its precision, accuracy, and durability. Dosime reports radiation exposure, or dose rate, in units of millirem per hour, and it also calculates the total radiation exposure, or cumulative dose, which it reports in units of millirem (mrem). According to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC), an American is exposed to an average of 620 millirem annually.
Good news for Minnesotans, we tested Dosime for nearly two weeks throughout the Twin Cities and southwestern part of the state. The Dosime readings ranged between 0.005 and 0.008 mrem per hour with a cumulative dose of less than 1 mrem. This indicates a low level of ionizing radiation exposure.
Usability and app
Dosime is considered a hybrid device, as it can be used as a wearable device or at home when it is plugged into the charging cradle. The device works autonomously, measuring radiation exposure in real-time and presenting the data to the user. The actual device produces a constantly blinking light that changes color based on the amount of radiation in an area: green for low exposure, orange for elevated exposure, and red for severe exposure. The app also provides users with a current dose rate as well as cumulative dose and is capable of sending audible mobile alerts, text messages, and emails when radiation levels deemed unsafe.
Here are the standards Dosime uses for deciding what is low, elevated, and severe exposure:
- Green: When the Dosime device blinks green, everything is OK. Dose rate fluctuation between 0.005 mrem/hr and 0.030 mrem/hr is normal.
- Amber: When the Dosime device blinks Amber, your risk of radiation exposure has significantly increased above a normal, naturally occurring rate. Dose rate is above 10mR/h and below 100 mR/h
- Red: When the Dosime device blinks red, you are at a high risk of excessive radiation exposure in your area. Dose rate is above 100mR/h
Overall, we at Medgadget find Dosime to be user friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and informative without being overwhelming. Many of us do not think about radiation exposure on a regular basis. However, given the potentially adverse health effects associated with high exposure to ionizing radiation, investing in a device like Dosime may be worthwhile.
Product page: Dosime…