Guardian Angel (battery)

There I was, innocently reading Engadget, when I struck this post about how "Exradia suggests that iPhones could warp brains".

Exradia's argument is that cellphone radiation is harmful (which is dubious at best, but let's continue), and that the iPhone is particularly dangerous. That's because the iPhone battery is not user replaceable (not without soldering skills, anyway), which means, drum roll please, that you cannot buy one of Exradia's special after-market radiation-reducing batteries for an iPhone.

On the face of it, Exradia's claims sound like poppycock.

Let's assume that cellphone radiation is bad for you. Well, that's a shame, because mobile phones depend for their operation upon the emission of that radiation. A phone that cannot emit pretty much exactly that same radiation is a phone that will not work. Wrapping your body in earthed flywire is the only option, if you insist on still using a mobile phone.

So I was interested to hear Exradia's explanation of what their "Angel™ batteries" (available for all major brands!) were actually supposed to be doing.

That explanation can be found here.

Apparently, "Exradia's Angel™ technology superimposes a random noisefield on the bio-effective man-made EMFs that are typically emitted by cell phones and most other digital wireless devices. With Angel™, the body (cells) detects only randomised signals that cannot trigger a cell's response and therefore cannot be harmful to cells."

I've heard much worse scientific word salad than that, but this still sounds like nonsense to me. Exactly how a battery is supposed to be changing the output waveform of the phone's radio at all is a pretty big stumbling block; does the battery have its own antenna? If it broadcasts random noise in the frequency range in which the phone operates, wouldn't the phone just turn up its own radio volume, if possible, to compensate?

I could go on, but I'm just speculating. The Exradia explanation isn't clear enough for anything better.

Exradia's "Bioeffects of EMF" page refers to a 2000 University of Washington study that found that microwave exposure fragmented DNA strands in the brains of rats. Apparently superimposing a random signal on that field was somewhat protective. Nobody else in the world has been able to replicate these results - quite the opposite, in fact - but that hasn't stopped vendors of various allegedly-noise-emitting anti-radiation talismans from cashing in.

Hunting more info on this subject led me to The EMX Biochip™, and that led me... straight back to Exradia, who're currently hit number 1 for "EMX Biochip" despite not having that string anywhere on their site. According to this page, Exradia bought "the EMX technology".

What, exactly, the EMX technology actually is will remain a mystery, even if you read Exradia's "Science Whitepaper" (PDF). Not the slightest clue is presented as to how a component in a phone battery can semi-randomise the radio output of a phone.

If the magic batteries don't have their own antennae, all they could possibly do is try to inject RF noise into the phone through the battery terminals, hoping that it'll make it through the circuitry to the antenna without interfering with anything or being eaten by other components (hint: that won't happen), or find some resonant component before the antenna that can be used as an aerial in the absence of a proper one.

But here I am again, speculating. I'm forced to it by the vast windy wasteland that is Exradia's explanation of what the hell they actually claim to be doing.

The Exradia technology page does go on to say "Angel™ has been proven to eliminate biological effects in all instances in which it has been tested in labratory research."

If you're now waving your hand in the air and saying "Ooh! Sir! Sir! I bet that research cannot be found anywhere on the Exradia site!", then you get an early mark.

Everybody else now has to read this post on the Quackometer blog, which points out that Exradia seem to be a pretty serious business entity (compare the late and not very much lamented Batterylife AG), but which also expresses mystification about how the heck the Exradia/EMX technology is even supposed to be able to do the job they say it does. Never mind whether the job needs to be done at all.

The Quackometer blogger, Andy Lewis, managed to read more of the EMX intro page than I did before his brain seized up. He discovered that the EMX "technology" actually, on that page at least, claims to be influencing not the high frequency radio output of the phone itself - which, I remind you, is what has most cellphone danger enthusiasts hot and bothered - but the low frequency output (way down in the audio range) of other electronics in the phone, and the low frequency modulation of the microwave output.

Andy then makes the obvious point that if low frequency EMR is the problem, just squelching the small amount of it that comes from mobile phones is completely meaningless - every urban human is bathed in low level, low frequency EMR for most of their lives.

(And yet, when you control for other risk factors, even people who live under power lines - let alone the rest of us with our TVs and computers and clock radios - don't seem to get any disease more often than other people.)

I was surprised about the whole low-frequency thing, because Exradia's tech page specifically says "cell phones and other digital wireless devices emit man-made EMFs...". If they were concerned about low frequency emissions, they wouldn't have said "digital wireless devices", which in this modern world all emit far more high frequency, gigahertz-range, radiation than anything else. And why would they have referred to that study of microwave effects on DNA if that wasn't their concern?

So it would appear, based on the incoherence of the arguments presented for it, that the Exradia Angel battery is as silly as the Q-Link pendant (which Andy mentions in passing).

It's not as obviously silly, and it does at least do something (power a phone). And I am grateful, don't get me wrong, for the fact that Exradia never use the word "quantum".

But the Angel battery's special reason for existing is questionable, its ability to achieve that goal is doubtful, and even the people whose motto is "we think everyone should have one" (of course you bloody do, you're bloody selling them) cannot explain what it is their product is even supposed to do.

[UPDATE: A few months after this post, Exradia ceased to be, joined the choir invisible, and screwed their creditors.]

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