Smartphones have become a staple of modern life. Now that more than 1.75 billion people use them, no one pays much attention to these tiny computers. The more you learn about smartphones, though, the more great things that you discover. Here are six of the greatest things that have been accomplished with a smartphone.
1. Help Prove Police Brutality
Smartphones have become one of the top weapons used by people fighting against police brutality. Activists and everyday people have learned that their smartphones’ video capabilities give them more power when dealing with police officers, especially when confrontations turn violent.
Now that most American adults have smartphones, citizens can use them as tools to document unwarranted force from police. Video footage has already helped some courts resolve brutality cases. One Baltimore officer faces a $5 million fine after footage showed him repeatedly punching a man in the face and body even as other police try to pull him from the victim.
2. Help Police Catch Criminals
Smartphones and tablets can also help police officers catch criminals. People with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets can document activity as it happens with the cameras on their mobile devices. With a wide variety of tablets that come with high quality cameras, people are more connected and efficient than ever.
After the Boston Marathon bombing, police were able to find the criminal’s hideout by tracking his phone. Plenty of criminals have also been careless enough to take videos of themselves while breaking laws. The footage makes it easier for prosecutors to develop cases that convince juries to find suspects guilty.”
3. Contribute Processing Power to Scientists
Image via Google Play
In early 2014, HTC released an app that lets Android users contribute to scientific research. The Power To Give app taps your Android phone’s processing power to help scientists mine data as they research medicine, seismic activity, artificial intelligence, and other important issues.
Donating to a cause doesn’t have any negative effects on smartphone users. The app only works when a smartphone is connected to Wi-Fi, plugged in to a charger, and has at least 90 percent battery power.
Your phone could help solve some of humanity’s most vexing problems while you sleep. That’s pretty amazing.
4. Make a Feature Movie
In 2011, directors Pat Gilles and Hooman Khalili released Olive, the first feature length movie shot entirely on a smartphone. The movie, which has an 89-minute runtime, cost about $500,000 to make. To create a cinematic experience, the directors had to fabricate a 35 mm lens adaptor that would fit on the phone’s lens.
Gilles and Khalili made Olive without financial support from any major studios. In today’s competitive film industry, that’s a great accomplishment on its own.
5. Save a Life
Image via Google Play
PulsePoint, an app that connects 911 emergencies with first responders, helped save its first life in September 2014 when a volunteer EMT got a notice that someone nearby needed help. Jeff Olson, the volunteer, immediately responded to the call. The emergency was only a couple blocks from where he works as an auto mechanic.
When he arrived, he found a 1-month-old boy who had stopped breathing. Olson performed CPR and resuscitated the baby before paramedics could arrive.
Although PulsePoint is only available in certain communities, it shows that cities can use smartphones to improve emergency services. In the near future, making a call to 911 may automatically send an alert to trained professionals who can respond as quickly as possible.
The app also provides information about traffic accidents and ambulance locations, but that’s not quite as impressive as helping a volunteer EMT save a baby’s life.
6. Explore Outer Space
Today’s smartphones have more computing power than most laptops that were made only a decade ago. That’s an amazing accomplishment that can help scientists explore just about everything, including outer space.
When the University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited joined forces to send a nanosatellite into orbit, they used a Google smartphone as its computer. While orbiting the planet, the small satellite will run experimental apps to collect data that scientists can use to learn more about our planet and the space around it.
Do you know of other amazing things that people have done with smartphones? Whether you heard about it online or you witnessed it yourself, feel free to share your story.