I recently came across an article in the Metro talking about a new App being used to help fight cancer.
Suffice it to say this piqued my interest. I mean, who isn’t interested in how we are able to apply technology to help with our quality of life.
On reading, the principle was so simple it was astonishing. Why had nobody done this before?
In short, Cancer researchers from Imperial College London will be able to use the power of your smartphone to allow them to analyse vast swathes of data whilst you sleep.
As stated in the Metro article, a single desktop processing computer, with an eight-core processor, running 24 hours a day would take approximately 300 years to crunch through all of the data that is collected by researchers.
This application, and its network, would allow the same data to be processed in just 3 months, if the network can reach 100,000 users.
The application is free, and the cost to your or I is absolutely non-existent, especially if you are in the habit of charging your phone every night (something that most people do).
Such a simple way for people to get involved in the fight!
Dr Kirill Veselkov, who is leading the team at Imperial College London’s department of surgery and cancer, said:
‘We are currently generating huge volumes of health data around the world every day, but just a fraction of this is being put to use. ‘By harnessing the processing power of thousands of smartphones, we can tap into this invaluable resource and look for clues in the datasets.
‘Ultimately, this could help us to make better use of existing drugs and find more effective combinations of drugs tailored to patients, thereby improving treatments.’
The app itself has been developed by the Vodafone Foundation, and is called DreamLab. It is available to anyone, regardless of the network they are on.
If you are on Vodafone, you can even run this via a mobile network at no cost! For those of us with other providers, you can set limits to the amount of mobile data you would allow the app to use (if any).
After downloading the application I was impressed by the level of detail it gives, and a little surprised to learn that this is not its first application.
DreamLab has already delivered in Australia, reaching 98.1% completion of its first project analysing data related to brain, lung, Melanoma and Sarcoma cancers.
For Imperial College London, the second project, it would appear that this is early days. Currently showing that it has analysed 1.3% of the data.
1.3% project completion may not sound like much, but the fact that this network has already run 317 million calculations is phenomenal!
Personally I believe that this application should be promoted as much as possible. The more that is written and said about it the better the chances of it successfully completing its task.
This is one of the first examples that I have come across where applying the principles of Big Data and IoT could yield enormous real world benefits for millions of people.
We just need to know about these projects happening.