Sat, Mar 14, 2009 - Page 13 News List

Handset or headset: which is safest? 手持行動電話或免持聽筒耳機: 何者最安全?

Welcome to Weekend Science! Every Saturday we’re going to guide you through some cool experiments that you can do at home. It’s a good idea for you to keep a record of what you do in a Science Journal. That way you can record what you learn, compare results and maybe use them to design new experiments! Remember to always ask a grown-up’s permission before trying out an experiment. 歡迎閱讀《週末科學版》!我們每週六都要為你介紹可以在家中進行的有趣科學實驗。你可以在《科學日誌》中記錄自己做了哪些活動,這樣就可以將所學的記錄下來,比較這些結果,也許還可以利用它們來設計新的實驗!先看一下《科學日誌》的點子再開始吧。展開實驗之前,記得要獲得大人許可喔!


Here’s a scene that you see almost every day: a car being driven erratically by a driver talking distractedly into his mobile phone. The problem is so serious that most countries have enacted laws prohibiting using a handset when driving. Now if you want to use the phone legally when driving you have to use a headset. 


But how solid is the science behind the law? Is it true that using a headset makes you a safer driver? In today’s experiment you will compare the effect of handsets and headsets on reaction times. 

What you will need: two mobile phones, one headset, a meter stick, pencil and paper to record your results and several friends.




Step 1: Hold the meter stick in front of your friend. The 0cm mark should be closer to the floor than the ceiling. Give your friend the handset and ask another friend to call him. Let them chat for about 30 seconds then release the meter stick. Record the point where the subject catches the meter stick.

Step 2: Repeat the experiment as outlined in step one except this time the subject should use the headset. Once again, record your results. Make sure you drop the meter stick after 30 seconds. Dropping too early or too late could affect the results.

Step 3: Repeat the experiment on at least five different people, recording the results each time.




1. prohibit v.i./v.t.

禁止 (jin4 zhi3)

2. handset n.

手機 (shou3 ji1)

3. headset n.

免持聽筒耳機 (mian3 chi2 ting1 tong3 er3 ji1)

4. legally adv.

合法地 (he2 fa3 de5)

5. reaction time n.

反應時間 (fan3 ying4 shi2 jian1)

6. variable n.

變因 (bian4 yin1)



You probably found that your friends reacted quickest when they used the headset, which has important implications for real-life drivers. Can you think of any other factors that might affect reaction times? Think of some variables, then test them with your friends.(John phillips, staff writer)




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