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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is Exradia snake oil?

Is the 'launch' of Exradia not all it seems? To me it has all the hall marks of a pump and dump operation - a fancy PR agency (Kinross & Render), an area that is of concern to consumers (mobile, protecting yourself from radio waves), big launches at trade shows (3GSM and CeBit), an odd structure and an odd past. All of these ring warning bells for me.
For Exradia (funded by wealthy private individuals, says the CEO) is actually a subsidiary of a US company that has been trying to sell this technology for nearly a decade now, including a joint venture to make phones in Germany. All of this isn't secret, but it's not highlighted.
So I had a long chat with the CEO, and unfortunately I am not convinced on the technology either. The technology is a low power, low frequency field that is meant to 'break up' the regular radio pulses that could be the cause of problems from mobile phones. Yes, several studies have pointed to the regularity of the pulses as the potential cause of problems. But the field does not stop the effect of the pulses - this is absolutely not like noise cancelling where you can cancel out the wave, but additive - but it will reduce the amplitude of the signal (but it's low power, so not by much). That is the only minor value I can see in the technology, and by the lack of success so far, I think the industry agrees with me.
The scary thing is the focus on the legal side - ie, if mobile phone makers don't take appropriate steps to minimise any effects they could be liable to future law suits. 'Is this the tobacco of the future' is the question the company promotes, and I feel there is an element of scaremongering in both the pitch to consumers and the pitch to the industry. Then the question comes down to how effective this technology is, and that has to go through properly organised, validated medical technology trials, NOT the university analyses that the company relies on.



Below: A GSM phone output
Right: Using Exradia technology to disrupt the signal

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