Softbank to Launch Smartphone That Can Detect Radiation

June 27, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. detect (v.)
[dih-tekt] – to discover or notice something, particularly something that is hidden or difficult to see, hear, taste, etc.
Example: They use devices that can detect radiation because humans cannot sense it.

2. in the wake of (idiom) [in thuh weyk uhv, ov] – describing something that happened after another event occurred
Example: More people are cautious of nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

3. handy (adj.) [han-dee] – describing something as useful or convenient
Example: Smartphones have handy features such as Internet access and apps.

4. at first glance (idiom) [at furst glans, glahns] – looking at something for the first time without paying enough attention Example At first glance, the small details of the smartphone cannot be seen.

5. anti-nuclear (adj.) [an-tee-noo-klee-er, -nyoo-, an-tahy-or,-kyuh-ler] – describing something or someone opposed to nuclear technology
ExampleAnti-nuclear activists protested the building of a new nuclear power plant.

Read the text below.

The Pantone 5 107SH, to be launched by Softbank, is the world’s first smartphone with a built-in sensor that can detect radiation.  

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son decided to develop the smartphone in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Customers, many of whom were mothers with young children, asked him via Twitter to create the product.

There has been an increasing demand in Japan for radiation sensors since the Fukushima disaster. People worried about radiation are buying such devices to check radiation levels in their food and surroundings.

According to Softbank, its radiation detecting smartphone can help lessen people’s worry, as the handy product allows citizens to measure radiation anytime and anywhere. 

The built-in radiation meter inside is so small that at first glance, the smartphone looks just like an ordinary mobile phone. Even so, the phone can measure radiation levels with readings that are accurate up to 20% of the time. The device can also compare detected radiation levels with those on online radiation maps.

CEO Masayoshi Son is known to be a supporter of the anti-nuclear movement. He has advocated solar farms as a replacement for nuclear power plants.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Is it reasonable for people in your country to be worried about radiation? Please explain further.
·         Do you think that having a radiation-detecting smartphone will make them feel less worried? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the best ways customers can communicate with companies nowadays?
·         Can you think of a product that you wish you could ask a company to make or add new features to? Please explain your answer.


June 27, 2012