Researchers Demand New Safety Standards for Millimeter-Wave Devices

Qmed Staff

August 3, 2015

2 Min Read
Researchers Demand New Safety Standards for Millimeter-Wave Devices

An NYU research group has called for new FCC rules for future wireless devices.

Qmed Staff

The city of Berkeley, CA made news by becoming the first city to require cell phone retailers to post warnings of the devices' potential to emit radiation.

Much of the commentary that followed the news dismissed it city's rule as being based on junk science.

Yet a recent group of researchers at New York University (NYU) has called for new safety standards for next-gen wireless devices, as reported by our sister publication EE Times Europe. "Because future devices will operate on a spectrum with different properties than today's communications devices, FCC rules and regulations on safety must be reviewed and adjusted accordingly," says NYU Wireless director Theodore Rappaport,, the first university center to combine wireless engineering, computing, and medical applications research and home to pioneering experimentation with the mmWave spectrum.

Rappaport explains that current safety rules pertaining to radio frequency exposure do not specify limits higher than 100 GHz, but, in the future, wireless devices are likely to use those wavelength bands.

The researchers acknowledge that the type of radiation emitted by current cell phones is different than the x-rays and gamma rays that have been linked to cancer. Millimeter waves, which are a million-fold weaker, however, cause a heating effect on the body--albeit a negligible one at frequencies generated by current devices.

In years to come, wireless devices, however, are expected to cause significantly higher temperature variations according to the researchers, who note that MRI could provide an efficient mechanism for studying bodily temperature caused by using the devices.

Read more from EE Times Europe

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