I am sitting here watching CNN right now and the new phone by SoftBank is being talked about.

Surprisingly this is my first time of even hearing about the company but you can rest assure, I won’t be forgetting the name anytime soon.

Apparently they have built the very first radiation detecting smartphone capable of detecting radiation with a 20% accuracy rate.

Pantone-branded products are always colorful. This particular model is called the Pantone 5 and comes in eight vibrant colors: black, white, purple, yellow, blue, orange, and two types of pink. The phone runs Android 4.0 with a Sharp skin, and features a 3.7-inch, 854×480 LCD screen.

The phone spots a 4MP camera and packs a 1.4GHz processor which is pretty impressive.

But what makes the Pantone 5 unique isn’t really its colorful chassis. Rather, it’s the first of its kind to feature a built-in radiation sensor. Since the Fukushima disaster, we’ve seen companies release mobile radiation detectors like Scosche’s iPhone-compatible RDTX, an accessory that plugs into an iPhone to give users a reading of nearby radiation levels but no manufacturer has ever released a phone with a built-in geiger counter.

This is truly innovation and design thinking at its very best and I am truly very impressed.

The guys responsible for this project applied a Designer’s sensibility and methods to solving a real life problem many never knew was possible.

The guys at SoftBank heard the cry of the people, knew what the people wanted, the people wanted to feel safe everywhere they went and though it was possible to get a device capable of reading different radiation levels, the tendency to forget such a device at home is always a possibility. People also feel much better when they don’t have to move around with additional devices to do things.

The guys at SoftBank identified this and came up with a unique solution to a big problem. It’s actually very easy when you think about it. What device do we carry about every single place we go to ? what device do we already use on the go to manage our heart-rate and monitor our blood sugar ? The mobile phone.
So why not use this same device to detect radiation levels, it was the perfect fit, the probability of actually forgetting your mobile phone at home was far lower than that of just any device.

This sort of design thinking breaths room for serious innovation and I do hope some Nigeria companies will begin to think like this. I won’t be surprised if this phones suddenly flooded the Nigerian market, that’s what we are good at right? We love to import what ever is trending globally and even though it wouldn’t really solve a problem here, some users would still buy just to be seen with it.

We require a culture of innovate, a culture than frees designers to think out, identify and prototype real solutions to pressing problems.

For the Nigerian market why not a mobile phone with the capability to detect the purity of the “pure” water we buy in traffic or the water we get from our wells ? That would be a big hit here.

What about a mobile phone that could act as a power source to deliver basic electricity to homes ?

Am just thinking ……