Mobile phones to check for cancer

'So, Sir William Stewart says there's a chance that mobiles cause cancer. What if we were to invent a phone that actually prevents it?' So said the ca

'So, Sir William Stewart says there's a chance that mobiles cause cancer. What if we were to invent a phone that actually prevents it?' So said the cackling, white coat wearing scientists at The Soroka medical centre in Israel where Dr Nitzan Yaniv has developed a phone that detects breast cancer.

Although still at the testing stage, the anti-cancer mobile uses the tried and trusted method of infra-red imaging to pick up suspect trouble spots. By swapping the handset's standard camera for an infrared one, most of the technology needed is already in place. Add a bit of software and the ability to beam the results back to a lab and you've got the ideal self-check, anti-cancer device.

Now for the science. Pervy voyeurs will already know the power of infrared filters to turn camera phones into X-Ray spec style spy cams, now the same technology is being put to this more benign use. Software that analyses the invisible light can be used to show temperature differences in human tissue and also to illustrate oxygen flow - both vital for picking up any abnormalities and better indicators than normal self examinations.

As if that wasn't enough, the infrared mobile could even save us all from bird flu. One company, FLIR Systems, has already lept on the H5N1 band waggon. It's offering its cameras for the detection of the virus in humans by picking up on suspect temperature changes in the nasal passages. So soon we could be snapping pictures of our mates - just to check if they're safe to approach.