Using your mobile phone to help cure cancer

The idea of donating computing power to research is not new.  But research to cure Cancer?  That’s something exciting.  Using your mobile phone?  That’s fantastic.  The Garvan Institute and Vodafone Foundation have teamed up to create an app that allows you to do some good while you sleep – it’s called DreamLab.

Back in the late 90’s I signed up for a think called [email protected] – the search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.  The idea here was that space researchers had gathered so much data that they simply didn’t have the computing power to analyse it all in their quest to find signs of Alien life.

Home computers, connected to the then very slow internet could download small packets of data which your personal computer would analyse and send back to the research team.


Fast forward almost 20 years and we’re doing the same thing, except this time it’s for Cancer Research, and this time – amazingly, it’s all done on your Mobile Phone.


I’ve been lucky enough to be using the DreamLab app now for a few weeks, and in that time I’ve “donated” a total of 5 days, 14 hours and 49 mins of computing power to help fight Cancer.

Here’s how it works.


You download the app (Available for Android only at the moment) and set it up to allow a maximum amount of data usage per month.

Different limits can be set for mobile data and your home WiFi ensuring you never go over your cap.


Plug your phone in to charge (most commonly while you sleep) and when your phone hits 99% or so, the DreamLab app powers up, grabs some data from The Garvan Institute servers, and starts analysing it.

The results are sent back to Garvan allowing researches to piece together the clues that might just assist in a medical breakthrough in the fight against Cancer.


So simple, so cool, something you just have to get involved in.

Download now for Android – iOS they hope is coming soon.


Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.

He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.

Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.

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