The New York Times has just published a great news story 21st August 2009 titled 'Hello, Oven? It’s Phone. Now Let’s Get Cooking!' Apparently, a New Yorker's cellphone keeps switching on the Gas Stove with worrying consequences. Updated the link below.
From a technical point of view, Radio and EMI folks will love this story.
Naturally reading news articles like these, this one is reported in the respected New York Times, they are still often taken with a certain amount of scepticism and caution. The implication of this could be huge, not for sensations sake, but it opens up the doors to those who already have concerns about radio signal saturation.
There are, to put it conservatively, many many millions of mobile phones used everyday around the World. In the UK with a burgeoning population creaking up to 61-million, mobile phone numbers still out-number the population at minimum 2:1. And to create 1-billion texts a month (that's without voice calls/data calls) in UK networks, clearly lots of mobile phones are switched ON and in use.
The underlying concern with this story is that which device will be found to be the culprit (if at all):
- will it be the handset generating spurious emissions causing interference at a particular n-Hz level to unprotected circuitry
- will it be the electronic circuitry on the Gas Stove having poor EMC (electro-magntic compatibility) protection allowing conducted interference
- will it be both
It is not clear what will be the outcome of this matter, it may just fizzle out, but if not then this little story could have an impact on the World than even the "radiating us to death" protestors have hitherto made.
The implications could be wide spread, should the findings unearth the conclusion of random occurences of this type of event, because it opens the door to many other possibilities with possible horrible consequences:
- Scenario 1: My house burnt down because the mobile phone ignited the oven/stove without my knowledge
- Scenario 2: There was no trace of an accelerant, save to say, we found an appliance that had started the fire and we cannot rule out that it wasn't a mobile telephone that caused the appliance to ignite it
- Scenario 3: Two bodies were found in a house with no traces of attack or arson, the authorities are puzzled
So the potential for the unforeseen disaster perhaps shouldn't be ruled out, at this stage, but it would be useful to have the exact findings and conclusions published.
In the meantime I wont be having my mobile telephone left switched ON in MY trouser pocket.