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Your smartphone can help cure cancer

Did you know you can donate your phone’s unused processing power to solve science’s biggest questions?

Whether you want to help cure cancer, better understand climate change or find aliens, there’s an app for you. When you’re not using your Android phone, you can use these apps to donate its computing power to scientists looking into the big questions… for free.

If just 1,000 people use the apps below, the data researchers are analysing can be processed up to 30 times faster. So what are you waiting for? Download one of these free apps and start helping the world.

BOINC

BOINC (or Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) is an app created by the University of California, Berkeley – it’s also the technology behind all the apps below. It lets you choose from a range of scientific endeavours that you can donate spare computing power to. You could help find pulsars in space or find a cure for AIDS.

The app only computes data when your phone’s plugged in, so you don’t have to worry about battery, and it only sends its results over Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to worry about your data plan.

Download on Android

DreamLab

DreamLab was created by Vodafone and Hutchinson (owners of the Three network in the UK) in Australia, with the goal of curing cancer faster. You can choose what type of cancers you want to help research and then the app will run in the background while your phone’s charging.

Unlike BOINC, DreamLab will send information over mobile internet if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi – the files are small so shouldn’t eat through your data plan, but it’s worth remembering if you’re on a tight tariff.

Download on Android

HTC Power to Give

HTC Power to Give is similar to BOINC – you sign up, choose a cause you want to help research and plug your phone in. It’s got a similar range of projects on it too, with life-threatening diseases, climate change and space all covered.

Download on Android

Samsung Power Sleep

Samsung Power Sleep is an alarm clock app that crunches data for the University of Vienna. Specifically, it uses your smartphone’s power to decrypt protein chains, a crucial piece of work in the fight against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

When you go to bed, Samsung Power Sleep automatically starts running the data. Then, when your alarm goes off, it automatically stops and sends its results to the University of Vienna for analysis.

Download on Android

[email protected]

[email protected], created by Sony Mobile Communications and Stanford University, goes back to the simple BOINC formula of using your phone’s processing power while it’s charging. It also gives you a wide range of health research to support so you can choose something close to your heart or that you find interesting.

Download on Android

(This article originally appeared on The Lowdown.)