Feds Plan Cell Phones That Can Smell Biochem Attack
Detector chip could save lives: Homeland Security
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2010 3:16 AM CDT
Homeland Security officials stress that the gas-detecting chip in cell phones would be optional.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – Ever wish that your cell phone could double up as a poison gas detector? If so, you'll be thrilled to learn that Homeland Security's science division is working to make your somewhat unusual dream become reality. The scientists are in talks with cell phone manufacturers about inserting a chip into phones that can sense a variety of toxic chemicals in the air and alert the user.

The phones being developed would also alert emergency services when poison gases were detected. Within a year, the chief of the department's "Cell-All" program tells CNN, “we expect up to 80 prototype cell phones to be developed that can be then tested against various agents.” Developers say it will be several years before various issues—such as keeping false positives to a minimum—can be worked out and phones with the chip can hit the market.