Vodafone Australia has launched DreamLab, an Android app that uses your smartphone’s computing power to assist in cancer research while you’re not using it.
Developed in collaboration with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, DreamLab pools the processing power of every smartphone that has the app installed to create a networked supercomputer of sorts. It helps speed up researchers’ computing to
aid in finding cures for breast, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancer.
According to the institute, having 100,000 users on board will help researchers crunch complex data approximately 3,000 times faster than the current rate.
Users can choose which type of cancer they’d like to support with their idle phones, and how much data they wish to contribute each month (250MB, 500MB or 1GB). The app runs only when devices are fully charged.
DreamLab will run on both Wi-Fi and mobile networks; if you’re on Vodafone’s service in Australia, you won’t be charged for data transmitted through the app.
The app isn’t really the first of its kind: it’s a similar initiative to SETI@Home and Folding@Home, which harnessed the power of desktops and mobile devices to help make contact with aliens and research cures for diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. But every little contribution helps, so if you haven’t tried those programs, it might be worth signing up for DreamLab.