Building a smartphone EMF detector with an electret mic and Arduino

Atmel | Bits & Pieces

A simple Arduino circuit can enable you to see a smartphone’s electromagnetic activity, even while it’s “asleep.”

As ubiquitous as smartphones have become, the jury is still out with regards to how their signals affect our bodies. Radio frequency energy is a form of electromagnetic radiation, which can be categorized into two types: ionizing and non-ionizing. Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as from radiation therapy, is known to increase the risk of cancer. However, although many studies have examined the potential health effects of non-ionizing radiation from electronic devices, there is still no consistent evidence proving it is detrimental to our health.


With this in mind, Epic Jefferson decided to call attention to smartphones’ electromagnetic activity, even when the phone is “asleep.” The project had been part of a Making Things Interactive course at Carnegie Mellon University, which encouraged students to use Adafruit’s electret mic to take something from the background environment and bring it to the forefront in a non-invasive way.

“The first…

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