Sony's Android folding app, which contributes to cancer and Alzheimer's research, has just received an update adding game-like points and achievements to the app, so you can compete with your friends on who can better save the world.
Folding picture by Sony
The app uses the processing power of your smartphone to "fold" the proteins necessary for research in curing cancer, and when combined with the global masses doing the same thing, that's a heck of a lot of computing power. Here's Dr Vijay Pande of Stanford on the effectiveness of the program:
“The protein we’re researching takes about 300,000 nanoseconds to fold, and a smartphone can simulate about one nanosecond per day, that gives you some idea of the scale we’re working with, but if 10,000 phones work eight hours a day, the project could be complete in less than three months!
This latest update allows you to run the app anytime you want, though you might still want to run it only when it's plugged in. Depending on what you do, you'd in effect be donating a percentage of your battery power to the cause.
In addition to the gamification, the app now lets you share your progress on social media. It might not inspire a burning desire to beat your friends' high scores, but it'll increase awareness of the app.
You can check it out here.