Samsung develops mobile app that contributes unused processing power to scientific researches

Thanks to Samsung and the digital agency Cheil, now every Android user has a chance to take part in scientific medical researches of deceases like cancer or Alzheimer… while sleeping. To do that, they may download an alarm clock app “Power Sleep” that enables smartphones to “work” for a good cause by contributing its unused processing power to a cloud-based supercomputer that assists researchers in their calculations.

This project is carried out in partnership with the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Vienna, and is part of Samsung’s on-going global branding campaign, the Launching People initiative, aimed to create innovation that contributes to peoples’ lives and the community in a broader perspective.

How the Power Sleep application works: it enables sending the unused computing power of “sleeping” mobile devices (while it is connected to WiFi and power cord) directly to the major computer engaged in processing the results of the medical research, in particular protein test series. Small packets of data, no more than 1 megabyte in size are sent out from the research lab servers and returned again after the mobile devices have performed their calculations.

Based on the BOINC platform, the SIMAP project of the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Vienna then builds a collective database of small calculation series from participants all over the world, in turn providing an open-sourced protein-calculation database to the scientific community for further research on cure for diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s.

“In order to fight diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer, we need to know how proteins are created. This requires series of tests that need immense computing power and this is where Power Sleep bridges the gap between science and society,” commented Dr Thomas Rattei, Professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Vienna. “Not only does it drive our research forward, but also allows everyone in Austria to be part of the project and to do good while they sleep. The more people who participate, the greater the effect.”

The only thing a participating user will have to do is to activate WiFi on their Android device and connect it to the power cord before going to bed. The app works with the scientific data only when the device is fully charged, so the phone or tablet won’t run out of power because of the app’s activity. Plus, “Power Sleep” doesn’t access personal information on the device.