National Physical Laboratory

Measuring RF energy emissions

The Challenge

The design concept for the Touchsafe Meter
The design concept for the Touchsafe Meter

Antennas for wireless computer networks and mobile phones are increasingly being found in public places such as airports, railway stations and shopping centres. For monitoring and safety assurance purposes measurements of the emitted radio frequency (RF) radiation are required.

However, existing methods of measuring the absorption of RF energy by the human body are complicated and not applicable to on-site measurements after the antennas are installed.

The Solution

IndexSAR, a UK SME that specialises in RF monitoring equipment, has developed 'Touchsafe', an innovative hand-held instrument connected to a lap-top computer that enables on-site assessment of the potential RF absorption levels. Interest in the instrument is widespread - from the health and safety industry to large mobile telephone operators.

NPL, through a joint industry project, worked closely with the company to improve the accuracy of the measurement. The prototype was extensively tested and compatibility with existing product testing standards was demonstrated.

The result is a unique cost effective instrument, currently being marketed by the company, that measures the rate of absorption by body tissue of RF energy emanating from wireless antennas in situ. It is able to detect a wide frequency range and is easy to use - simply pressed against the RF emitter while computational software displays the result.

"This development will establish a simple technique for the environmental monitoring of human exposure from nearby RF radiation sources. It will provide assurance that wireless communications antennas are operated within the intended safety limits."
Mike Manning, IndexSAR

Find out more about NPL's research in RF & Microwave

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Last Updated: 7 Jan 2013
Created: 7 Oct 2010

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