It seems like nowadays people don’t go anywhere without their smartphones. Whether its checking e-mail, Facebook updates, or the latest weather forecast, smartphones have made mobile connectivity so accessible that you could make the argument that many of us have become addicted to them. The truth is none of us are about to give up our smartphones — and why should we? Everyday developers are coming up with new and innovative apps that change the way we live our lives. But rather than just spending all day racking up points in Candy Crush, with the right applications, you can can actually use your mobile device to help make the world a better place. Here are four ways your smartphone can be put to use for a good cause.
4. Donating Your Photos
If you, like many people, find yourself constantly snapping pictures with your phone, you might want to consider donating those photos to a worthy cause. Donate A Photo is a venture from Johnson & Johnson in which the company has agreed to pledge one dollar to a charitable cause for every picture you share on social media. Johnson & Johnson has curated a long list of trusted causes you can choose from and each time you donate a photo it gets labelled with your chosen cause as well as the Donate A Photo logo. Active users are able to donate up to one picture a day to the cause of their choice.
3. Improving Your Neighbourhood
Developed by a growing team of passionate entrepreneurs, SeeClickFix is a communications platform designed to allow citizens to report non-emergency issues for governments and local authorities to track and manage. Commonly reported issues include sightings of potholes, graffiti, and inoperative traffic lights. Other residents can even put in their two cents on reported issues to highlight problems that are particularly urgent. The ultimate goal is to provide the best tools for residents and governments to communicate effectively in their communities. According to the developers, 75 percent of the issues reported get resolved and, although the success of the app has varied depending on location, many users have reported that it really does work, as small changes in their community have added up over time and made a big difference for the people living there.
2. Helping the Blind
By using the wonderfully inventive Be My Eyes app, anyone who possesses normal eyesight can volunteer to help the visually impaired. Once registered with the service as a volunteer, you’re officially ‘on call’ and can be contacted anytime and connected through a live video feed to a person in need of assistance. No need worry about having to drop everything or quit your day job to help the blind though — if you don’t respond, the app will automatically just move on to the next available volunteer.
1. Folding Proteins
Proteins are biological macromolecules that perform a multitude of functions in the human body including catalyzing metabolic reactions and forming the building blocks for tissues like skin and blood. Depending on their function, they can fold themselves into literally billions of different shapes, but, when the folding process goes awry, that’s when debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s can arise. The problem is that scientists don’t quite understand exactly what causes protein folding errors in the first place — which is where you and your handy smartphone come in. By downloading and running the [email protected] app from Sony, researchers at Stanford University can take advantage of your smartphone’s processing power to help them carry out the millions of complicated calculations required for protein behavior investigation and analysis. The app uses Wi-Fi and, while it never tracks any personal data, performing all those in-depth calculations can be quite taxing on a phone’s battery — so make sure you plug your phone in or have a charger handy when you use it.