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How does DreamLab work?

What if helping in the fight against cancer was as simple as going to bed?

The DreamLab app from Vodafone Foundation helps you to do just that. Available on iOS from App Store, as well as Android from Google Play, the app uses your smartphone’s computing power to solve cancer research problems faster.

How does DreamLab work?

Think of your smartphone as a small but powerful computer. When it’s idle — like when you’re asleep at night — that power goes untapped. DreamLab puts that power to use for good to fast track cancer research.

Each phone downloads tiny research problems, calculates them, and then send the result back to the research team at Garvan.

What is DreamLab actually solving?

Our research partners have placed huge research projects in the cloud, each project has millions (for some projects even up to 26 million!) of different micro-problems that need calculated in order to understand and make sense of the data.

When you power DreamLab, you’re downloading one of these problems and solving it using your phone’s computing power.

Each person’s phone works on a different problem, although there is duplication of each task (two people each solve the same calculation), so that our research partners can be sure that the results sent back are accurate.

DreamLab is currently focussed on speeding up cancer research. Some of the projects aim to better understand cancer based on a patient’s DNA profile, rather than the tissue in which their cancer started. Other projects aim to identify existing drugs that could be repurposed for cancer treatment (for drugs already in therapeutic use, their approval for use as cancer therapies carries fewer risks, substantially lower costs and involve shorter timescales than developing completely new drugs).

The combination of a large community (that’s you - our DreamLab users) and big data analysis, makes this revolutionary form of research possible.

How DreamLab uses data

Because the DreamLab app needs to download and upload the research problems from the cloud, it does need an internet connection to work. You can choose to use DreamLab over your WiFi, and / or your mobile network.

You’re in control and can set a monthly limit. DreamLab will keep solving problems until it reaches the data limit you have set, then it will pause.

For Vodafone Ghana customers, the mobile data to use DreamLab is free on the Vodafone network in your country. It won’t even appear on your bill and it won’t count towards your monthly data allowance.

DreamLab epitomises the purpose of the Vodafone Foundation – Connecting for Good – which is about combining Vodafone’s charitable giving and technology to make a difference to people’s lives. Through innovative use of technology, our network and people power – DreamLab is making a significant difference to the speed at which researchers can complete ground breaking research, to improve and save lives.

Nick Read, CEO Vodafone Group

DreamLab and your privacy

DreamLab does not access personal information on your phone.

Like other apps that you download and use, it can’t take over or gain access to other parts of your phone. It simply utilises the phone’s computing power in to solve calculations.

You also don’t need to provide any personal information to set up and use DreamLab.

Note, on Android devices, the app requests access to ‘photos, media, files permission’ in order to temporarily store the tiny research problems whilst they are being calculated by your phone. DreamLab will only access these problems in your phone’s files directories. It does not access your photos or media.

The cancer patient data you download to calculate is anonymised and de-identified for research purposes.

DreamLab is an easy way to make a real difference. It’s so simple you can do it with your eyes closed.

By simply downloading the app and charging your smartphone while you sleep - you’ll be helping to speed up cancer research. The more people that use the app, the faster it works, and the faster we can crack this thing.

Download now on iOS from App Store, or for Android on the Google Play store.

 

DreamLab is an initiative of the Vodafone Foundation. The DreamLab server is powered by Amazon Web Services . The app was built by the clever team at Transpire.