Solving Important Problems Through Smartphones

Smartphones and applicationsAbout a billion new smartphones will be sold in 2014, the majority in developing countries. This expanding network offers profound opportunities to solve global problems in entirely new ways.

Here are a few examples of innovative uses of smartphones — which admittedly just scratch the surface of what is possible:

1) Use Smartphones to Track Mosquitoes

Public officials in Lahore use photos and GPS information from smartphones to better target anti-mosquito programs. Dengue Fever has dropped significantly.

2) Track, Report Noise Pollution via Mobile Phone

NoiseTube and NoiseMap are two projects that allow crowdsourced collection and reporting of noise pollution data. On

3) Inexpensive Eye Exams via Smartphone

MIT researchers have developed a small device that when combined with a smartphone can offer eye exams in developing countries. Fast Company

4) Map Transit Routes Using Cell Phones

Students at the University of Nairoibi and MIT have mapped Nairobi’s informal transit network through studying cell phone data. Atlantic

5) Data-driven Biodiversity

Crowdsourcing, a smartphone app, satellite images and data analysis combine to tell farmers which fields to flood and when to help migratory birds. NY Times

To comment or vote on these (or other) ideas – or add your own! – visit Good Ideas.


Five Good Ideas for Saving Gas

milesMany families spend thousands of dollars per year on fuel for their cars. Here are five good ideas for saving money — and helping the environment while you are at it:

Inflate Your Tires

Most automobile tires are 80% inflated or less, wasting over 100 gallons of gas per year per car. It’s bad for the pocketbook, it’s bad for safety, and it’s bad for the environment.

Save Gas By Driving Less Aggressively tests show that driving less aggressively is the best way to save fuel – better than driving slower, inflating tires, reducing idling, and other strategies.

Roll Down Your Window Instead of AC

Rolling down your window to cool the car on a hot day uses less energy than the AC – except when driving on the highway (where wind resistance matters more). Slate

Use “Road Trains” to Save Gas

Wirelessly linking automobiles into “road trains” can save 20% of fuel.

Buy a Tesla Instead of a Minivan

Total cost of ownership over eight years for a Honda Odyssey is higher than for a Tesla Model S. ExtremeTech

Feel free to vote or comment on any of these ideas on Good Ideas (you can click on the idea titles above to go straight to the ideas).