Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mobile phones - from disturbed sleep to revolution

Two recent reports on mobile phone usage: one that suggests using a mobile phone before going to bed could stop you getting a decent night's sleep; and a second that suggests mobile phones have the power to revolutionise access to information across the developing world:

- Mobiles linked to disturbed sleep

The study, funded by mobile phone companies, suggests radiation from the handset can cause insomnia, headaches and confusion. It may also cut our amount of deep sleep - interfering with the body's ability to refresh itself...

...Some were exposed to radiation equivalent to that received when using a mobile phone, others were placed in the same conditions, but given only "sham" exposure.

Those exposed to radiation took longer to enter the first of the deeper stages of sleep, and spent less time in the deepest one.

- The invisible computer revolution

Because those of us based in the developed world are always thinking of computers as things with 15-inch or 17-inch or 24-inch screens, it can be hard to see the potential of something much smaller, even if it's right in our pocket.

I was talking with a software developer friend of mine recently and going on as I do about the potential for cell phone software to revolutionise education, literacy, and public health in the developing world.

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