Donate your smartphone to science, but only when you sleep | apps | Hindustan Times
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Donate your smartphone to science, but only when you sleep

A new app puts users' smartphones and their processors to good use when they're charging at night.

apps Updated: Feb 18, 2014 10:51 IST

A new app puts users' smartphones and their processors to good use when they're charging at night.

Called PowerSleep, the app is a collaboration between Samsung and the University of Vienna, and it uses devices' processing power for crunching through scientific research.

It does this via an alarm clock. When it is set and the phone is plugged in for charging and connected to a wifi network, the university's Faculty of Life Sciences can harness its power for the good of furthering our understanding of genetics, biochemistry and cancer, among other areas.

With the app running, each phone becomes a part of the existing Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, which already draws on the idle processing power of some 60,000 PCs worldwide.

PowerSleep is a great way for cash-strapped academic institutions to build improvised supercomputers, and people who install the app will be able to see how their devices are being used and the nature of the research their processors have been crunching through.

Earlier this month, Cancer Research UK launched a smartphone game called Genes in Space that also aims to harness mobile devices' power in order to further scientific research. However, instead of using idle processor capacity, the game uses players' human ability to spot patterns.

The worlds that players must navigate are actually data points and by plotting a course through each field of what appear to be asteroids they are actually highlighting patterns in research related to breast cancer.

PowerSleep is available to download for Android from the Google Play Store now.