LOS ANGELES ( TheStreet) -- As wireless industry experts debate whether cell phones cause brain tumors, a start-up company called Pong Research has developed a solution to the possible problem: a silicon case for the Apple ( AAPL) iPhone and BlackBerry Storm that redirects radio waves so they don't get absorbed by a user's brain.The case was the brainchild of Alfred Wong, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. "When I saw that the amount of radiation going into the head was much greater than the natural electric activity in the brain, I got alarmed and thought I'd try to find a way to redirect the radiation away from the head." Cell phones have become necessities to everyone from school children to seniors during the past decade. They've become even more popular with the rise of smartphones, such BlackBerry devices and iPhones. As phones become more powerful, they emit more potentially hazardous radiation, says Albert Liu, vice president of business development at the Los Angeles-based company. In lab tests, the Pong case significantly reduced the "specific absorption rate," or SAR, which is the rate at which the body absorbs electromagnetic energy when exposed to radio waves. According to Liu, the case reduced the SAR level of the iPhone from 1.181 watts per kilogram to 0.421 watts. "Not only do we lower the SAR value, but at the same time we can increase the signal strength," Liu says. The Federal Communications Commission prohibits SAR levels of more than 1.6 watts per kilogram. "The smartphones all push the limit," Liu says. "They're very powerful." SAR regulations date back to the early 1990s, when relatively few people owned cell phones, and those who did used them sparingly because they were big and expensive. Those regulations haven't changed with the times. Wireless customers used more than 1.12 trillion minutes in the last half of 2009, up 38 billion from the last half of 2008, according to the CTIA, a Washington-based organization that represents the wireless industry. Wireless service revenues for the last half of 2009 amounted to about $77 billion, up from about $75 billion in the last half of 2008.