The DECO team at the Wisconsin IceCube Particle Astrophysics Center (WIPAC) has published a paper entitled Detecting particles with cell phones: the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-ray Observatory and is presenting at International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC) at The Hague, Netherlands on August 6, 2015 (webpage). The full paper can be found here. The abstract is below:
In 2014 the number of active cell phones worldwide for the first time surpassed the number of humans. Cell phone camera quality and onboard processing power (both CPU and GPU) continue to improve rapidly. In addition to their primary purpose of detecting photons, camera image sensors on cell phones and other ubiquitous devices such as tablets, laptops and digital cameras can detect ionizing radiation produced by cosmic rays and radioactive decays. While cosmic rays have long been understood and characterized as a nuisance in astronomical cameras, they can also be identified as a signal in idle camera image sensors. We present the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-ray Observatory (DECO), a platform for outreach and education as well as for citizen science. Consisting of an app and associated database and web site, DECO harnesses the power of distributed camera image sensors for cosmic-ray detection.