A way to turn discarded mobile devices into text-based medical encyclopedias.
encycloPDF: A way to turn discarded mobile devices into text-based medical encyclopedias.
Mobile devices today are capable of amazing things. We can record HD video, surf the Web, get GPS directions and play 3D games, just for starters. But while we continue to discard last year’s “outdated” devices in favor of new ones with better cameras, faster processors or cooler apps, there is an incredible amount of collective power in the devices left behind.Consider your old cell phones. even in places with limited or no access to actual cell phone service, these secondhand devices can serve as very simple offline computers with a basic display. Unwanted Palm Pilots, old flip phones and even graphing calculators can fall into this category. How can we prepare these devices for a second life in another part of the world? What’s the most effective use of their 5Mb storage space? What can we show on a screen that’s 160×120 pixels?
This concept is called encycloPDF: a text-based medical encyclopedia file that can be loaded onto even the lowest-fi devices. Text-based files can include an incredible amount of information that wouldn’t be possible to access with poor or no connectivity to online resources. Let’s work with doctors and community health workers to create the most essential and meaningful health documents for different parts of the world. We can pick 3 of the most common languages in a particular area, and transcribe it for each one. This document can be loaded as a small PDF (or a simple text file for the most basic devices) on as many devices as we can, turning each one of them into a community medical resource.
Implementing a simple and compelling program for original owners to donate their old mobile phone or PDA should be the first step toward creating these empowered devices. Let’s build a simple online toolkit. Using their home computers, users can run a piece of software that will wipe their personal information from the phone (a very common practice), let them choose a region from those identified as most in need, and load our health encyclopedia onto it. After that, the device is ready to be donated to UNICEF, and ready to start helping people. Perhaps even schools and companies can support phone drives to kick off an initial large-scale collection.
Mobile devices have proven themselves capable of reaching millions of people in one way or another. Let’s make the best use of the technology we have, and find a cheap and easy way to get life-saving information to those in need.
PSFK’s Future of Health Report shines a light on innovation occurring within the health and wellness space around the world. This document brings together both literal and lateral inspiration to provide a framework within which businesses can begin to contemplate the issues facing UNICEF and community health workers. These issues include limited resources, technological constraints, lack of health education, and limited access to timely and relevant health and wellness information.
In an effort to start this exciting conversation, PSFK challenged advertising and design agencies from around the world to react to the Future of Health report. They were tasked with developing concepts in the form of products, services or communications that addressed one or more of the needs set forth by UNICEF. The end result of this initial phase of ideation is more than 40 innovative concepts.