PSFK’s Trending Topic: Passive Device Power Used For Good

PSFK’s Trending Topic: Passive Device Power Used For Good

New technologies help people make the world better by doing nothing.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 27 february 2014

There seems to be a move in the app industry toward creating platforms that utilize the unused power from mobile devices for the collective good. From Samsung’s alarm clock app that turns unused computing power into science research to a contact lens that detects sugar levels as the wearer goes about their day, new technologies are enabling us to better ourselves and the world around us by doing virtually nothing.

Check out some of the technologies that have been featured on PSFK.


Alarm Clock App Contributes Phone’s Downtime To Research

Power Sleep, the product of a collaboration between Samsung Austria and the Faculty of Life Sciences of University of Vienna, is an Android alarm clock app that donates the unused processing power of the phone to research while the owner is asleep. When the alarm app is set, small packets of data are sent from lab servers at the University of Vienna and are sent back once the devices have completed their computations. The calculations are stored in a database that can be accessed by the scientific community.


Implantable Device Turns The Body Into Pacemaker Charger

American and Chinese researchers are developing a small power-generating device that is implanted into the body and uses the body’s natural movements to generate electricity for medical devices like pacemakers. The device is still under development but it can potentially help those who live with implanted devices.


UNICEF Turns Smart Device Off-Time To Water For Children

For this year’s UNICEF Tap Project, the organization encourages people to stay off their smartphones to provide clean drinking water to children who need it. For every 10 minutes that a person stays off his or her smartphone, UNICEF partners will donate one day of water to children in need. Supporters just need to access the site on their smartphones and then set their devices down. The site detects whether the phone is moving or steady and starts a timer to determine how long the users stay off their devices.


Contact Lenses Monitor Blood Sugar Levels

Google is developing contact lenses with a built-in chip to monitor the user’s blood sugar levels through his or her tears and then relay the information to the user. The lenses take measurements every second, allowing the user to be constantly aware when their sugar levels rise or fall. The contact lenses are under development but they would be very useful to diabetics by cutting down on the costs and hassle of always measuring their blood sugar levels.


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