For all of their myriad benefits, smartphones have proven to be a security nightmare in the wrong settings—chief among them, college classrooms (think test-taking), courtrooms, corporate boardrooms, and government secure facilities. In an effort to curb illegal and/or unsecure cell phone use, Berkeley Varitronics Systems recently released its PocketHound™ cell phone detector (see photo).

Boasting a 75-ft range, the PocketHound’s receiver is tuned to the RF signature of all second-generation (2G), third-generation (3G), and fourth-generation (4G) cell phones. Designed to scan for all voice, text, and data transmissions, it applies auto-thresholding technology to compare cellular measurements with the RF noise floor of the environment. Thus, the PocketHound will only be triggered by genuine cell phone use.

Once triggered, alerts can be conveyed via a choice of selectable flashing light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and/or vibrating alerts, enabling the PocketHound to be employed covertly. Smaller than a pack of playing cards, PocketHound’s internal lithium polymer battery and Univeral-Serial-Bus (USB) charging system allow for as much as two hours of continuous runtime.