Radium: A compact radiation detector for a post-Fukushima world

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Radiation isn’t something that most people worry about, but as disasters like Fukushima continue to defy containment efforts, it’s probably a good idea to start looking out for irradiated goods.

Doing so easier said than done, though. A great deal of the consumer products we buy are manufactured and stored in warehouses all over the world, so there’s no way to know ahead of time which ones to look out for. The only reliable way to detect radiation is with a Geiger counter, and most of the currently-available ones aren’t exactly pocket friendly.

That’s where Radium comes in. Designed by Russian engineer Sergey Vladimirov, Radium is a powerful, compact geiger counter designed for everyday use. Under the hood it boasts a high-sensitivity Geiger-Muller pancake tube, which allows it to detect all major forms of radiation, including alpha, beta, gamma, and X-rays. To make it more user-friendly, the device is also equipped with Bluetooth LE, allowing it to wirelessly transfer recorded data to your smartphone, tablet, or desktop PC.

Radium’s standout feature is its size. It’s certainly not the only geiger counter on the market, but it’s one of a rare few that might actually fit in your skinny jeans. Portability is just as important as functionality in this case — after all, what good is a geiger counter if you don’t have it with you when you need it?

The device is currently in prototype form, so to raise money for additional development and manufacturing, Vladimirov has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for Radium. He’s still got a long way to go before he reaches his $100K funding goal, but if he can raise the money before the end of March, he expects to ship the first units to backers as early as July.

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