REMEMBER those warnings from a few years ago that holding a mobile phone against your ear for too long could cause cancer in your brain? Well it turned out mobiles were safe enough to use on Ryanair – and now it turns out that they could, in fact, be the ultimate student oven. Queen’s University academic Professor Barra Ceide has managed to harnass the power of mobile phone batteries into a tool that could revolutionise how we eat convenience food forever. However, there are also fears that it would be be developed into a WMD for the republican movement.A new, free downloadable application now available on the internet allows mobile users to substantially increase their phone battery temperature and utilise microwave power… just enough to heat up pre-cooked supermarket meals and drinks using any smartphone with a flat touchscreen.
For example, once the software is installed, users can place a cup of tea on top of a touch-screen phone (such as an iPhone) or beside any other brand with a half-decent battery, like a Blackberry Storm (see screenshots) – and the drink heats to an acceptable temperature using microwaves. The inventor calls the software hack, the ‘Ulster Fry’…
Apart from the fact that the application uses microwaves and the screenshot is of a touch-sensitive ‘gas ring’, it works exactly like a cheap household microwave. Just set a ceramic cup on your phone and hit enter.
According to the BBC, south Belfast student entrepreneur Mr Ceide said: “This is just the first step in multi-application mobile technology. At the moment, the combination of an overheated mobile phone battery and G3 smartphone connection can only create enough heat to warm a cup of coffee or pre-heated microwave dinner, but the possibilities are endless.
“Because it’s the first of its type and it was invented in Belfast, we decided to call the beta version the ‘Ulster Fry’. Of course, it doesn’t actually fry, as the software works on microwaves, but the commercial applications of such a brand would clearly strike a nerve with an American market.
“Imagine being able to heat up a KFC or your post-pub ‘Rustlers’ microwave cheeseburger with a Nokia cellphone running Google Android software. Think how useful that would be!”
The application has been tested with some Samsung and Nokia models, but according to Ceile, works best with flat-screen mobiles.
He added: “The software has a touchscreen interface and while ultimately it could heat up home-cooked meals, at the moment, the pressure of setting a mug or cup on a sensitive screen should activate the graphical ‘gas ring’.”
However, unionists are concerned that the application could be used by dissident republicans as a trigger for a hi-tech bomb.
Said a security source: “Any device that heats up to a certain temperature is bound to attract the attention of dissident republicans, as it could be used as a simplified trigger for a bomb. Hopefully, this software will be seen as another idiotic attempt by some eejit to gain publicity for himself.”