ElectroSmart
Revealing your exposition to the electromagnetic waves

FAQ

Android application
Electromagnetic waves

ElectroSmart is a mobile application running on any Android device that measures, collects, and displays your real time exposition. You can also access your history as the app is running in the background and is periodically collecting your exposition. ElectroSmart collects anonymously your exposition for all the wireless technologies on your device (GSM, CDMA, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.)

ElectroSmart has been thoroughly tested for months, and we believe it has reached very high quality standards. However, if ever you face any issue you can report it directly within the application (using the Feedback menu) or by mail at es-support@inria.fr. We worked hard to get the best of your device capabilities and Android API to measure the background electromagnetic radiations. However, smartphones hardware and Android impose constraints that limit the amount and quality of information we can measure. For instance, if a Bluetooth device is configured to be hidden (which is by default for many smartphones) we cannot detect it. If ever you believe we are missing important sources of radiations, or if you have questions on the source we detect, you can contact us at es-support@inria.fr.

dBm is a unit of power corresponding to milliwatts on a logarithmic scale. A milliwatt corresponds to 0 dBm and each time you subtract 10 dBm, you divide by 10 the amount of milliwatts. For instance, -10 dBm corresponds to 0.1 mW, -20 dBm to 0.01 mW, -30 dBm to 1 microwatt, -60 dBm to 1 nanowatt, -90 dBm to 1 picowatt, and -120 dBm to 1 femtowatt. The three exposure levels are defined in the following way: However the levels we defined do not correspond to any level of harmfulness, because such levels are unknown. Instead, our levels correspond to common sense and are here to help you take savvy decisions. For instance, your exposure is high if you are very close to a source, medium is you are at a reasonable distance, and low when you are far away. Of course, inside buildings, your level of exposure can decrease very fast with the distance to the source. As we measure the power of the signal where you are, you only have the values that matter to adapt your environment. By default, ElectroSmart comes with the progressive blue theme with dark blue for a high exposure, blue for a medium exposure, and light blue for a low one. However, you can select the "red, orange, green" theme in the settings of the app. ElectroSmart measure all the networks defined in your SIM card. This is usually your operator and the partner operators when you are abroad. ElectroSmart measures radio frequency waves and more precisely microwaves produced by communication infrastructures or connected devices. ElectroSmart can measure waves generated by 2G (GSM, EDGE, GPRS, CDMA, etc.), 3G (UMTS, HSPA, etc.), and 4G (LTE), by Wi-Fi access points and by connected devices using Bluetooth. However, ElectroSmart does not measure the waves produced by your microwave oven or by the electrical network. No, there is no iOS version and we do not plan to implement one in a foreseeable future. Yes, you can, but you need to know how to install an application, and you will have to take care of the updates manually. To get the APK, contact us at es-support@inria.fr.

Electromagnetic waves are part of the human pollution. They are ubiquitous, whenever you connect to the Internet or make a phone call, you are using protocols that use electromagnetic waves to give you connectivity. So you are always exposed to electromagnetic waves generated by your activity or by the activity of people around you.

The electromagnetic waves represent a broad spectrum of waves. Communication protocols are using microwaves that are non-ionizing electromagnetic waves, which means that they were believed to do not create any health hazard at a low enough emitting power. Indeed, microwaves oven also use microwaves but at hundreds of watts, which creates a thermal effect used to heat up foods. Communication protocols emit waves at a power ranging from tens of watts to milliwatts (one thousand times smaller than a watt), supposedly low enough to do not create a harmful thermal effect. However, researches in the last 20 years conclude that beyond a thermal effect, a sustained exposition to microwaves used in communication protocols may lead to a health hazard. This might be particularly true for children who are more and more exposed to electromagnetic waves due to their increasing use of smartphones and tablets.

The good news is that the power of electromagnetic waves decreases very fast with the distance to the source. If ever you know where a source is, you can take simple actions (such as moving a bed, or switching off a source at night) to significantly reduce your exposition.

We believe that whatever the health hazard due to electromagnetic waves, you have the right to be informed on your exposition. However, as electromagnetic waves are invisible it is impossible without a dedicated measuring instrument that cost tens of thousand of euros to know your actual exposition. You can ask a regulation authority or an association to make measurements for you, but they will be limited in time and space.

This is the reason why we believe you should care. With ElectroSmart, you can take informed decisions to limit your daily exposition.

Despite many studies, we still don't know for which dBm value electromagnetic waves are harmful, because to show that an agent (here radio frequency waves) is harmful, you must show a correlation between the exposure to the agent and a disease. However, it is difficult to know the exposure to an invisible agent that is hard to measure. Due to this lack of measure, all studies will face the same methodological bias, that is even if a correlation is observed with our current exposure levels, it is not possible to conclude that the agent is the cause of the disease.

The goal of ElectroSmart is to improve our understanding of the exposure of people by providing a measurement and transparency tool that unveils your electromagnetic environment and enables you to take savvy decisions. For instance, once you know the sources that expose you the most, you can decide to switch off the sources you own when you don't use them, or to move away from the sources. Most of the time, a few meters away can make a big difference.