WATCH | When it comes to cell phone radiation waves, this stick-on antenna could offer some, if even a very small amount, of protection.
The WaveBlocker is a thumb-sized device that is supposed to absorb potentially dangerous radiation waves hanging around your phone just by sticking on the back of it.
Hitting crowdfunding this summer for a preorder price of $20, WaveBlocker's creators told Circa the antenna-and-chip-based "protector" is different from the "scam" cell phone radiation shields the FTC has warned everyone about and should actually help the fight against cancer-causing smartphone RF waves.
But do the experts agree?
WaveBlocker is a plastic bar with an adhesive back. It's designed to be compatible with just about any phone.
“It receives the ambient RF radiation and then, through the patented circuit, converts it into electricity and sends it to the LED light.”
The device has a sort of "notification" light that is meant to show users how much radiation it's (allegedly) sucking in.
Marshall Brain, science and technology author and founder of the site HowStuffWorks.com, told Circa that if WaveBlocker were actually preventing meaningful amounts of radio waves from coming in/out of your phone and eventually into your body, it would kill the phone’s call and data functions in the process.
The WaveBlocker team, on the other hand, claims its device absorbs the non-data-carrying ambient radio waves that are bouncing around the phone and offers protection -- up to a "65-percent" reduction of excess radiation -- while not diminishing phone signal.
A look at WaveBlocker's notification light illuminated.
Still, Brain doesn't accept that WaveBlocker’s radio wave-powered red light is proof of any protection.
“The fact that it’s lighting up an LED is meaningless ... It’s not causing radio waves to not enter your brain and heat it up, which is what people are worried about," he said.
Even if WaveBlocker were providing the promised 65 percent reduction in radiation, that wouldn't be meaningful for some researchers. One such expert quoted in a 2011 look at the hypothetical benefit of smartphone radiation protection with WaveBlocker's claimed level of efficiency called it "actually quite small in scale" or less effective than holding the phone just one centimeter further away from your head.
“If you were worried about it, then just stick a wired headphone into your phone and listen ... with your phone not anywhere near your brain.”
So are smartphone radiation blockers like WaveBlocker and others good for your health or just snake oil products?
The research debate over whether there are, in fact, dangerous, cancer-causing effects can behind regular exposure to smartphone radio waves makes that extra difficult to say. But if you feel like you’d rather be “up to 65%” more safe than ultimately sorry, WaveBlocker is scheduled to be available on Indiegogo this June.