Mobiles as Outbreak Predictors
An all-star consortium in South Asia wants to maximize the potential of mobile health care by identifying epidemics within 24 hours, compared to the standard two to three weeks it normally takes in countries such as Sri Lanka. The partners include the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Carnegie Mellon University's Auton Lab, LIRNEasia, the University of Alberta, and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), among others, and together the effort is called the Real Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP). The group is conducting ongoing research to see how a comprehensive disease surveillance system could work in rural areas via mobiles.
Mobile Phones as Wallets
The international aid non-profit Mercy Corps does not shy away from innovation--the global development agency recently announced that they are bringing mobile financial services to Haitians without bank accounts in a new initiative and partnership with Washington-based Trilogy and Haiti's Unibank. That's on top of their earlier feat this month of deploying just five water treatment systems to Pakistan that managed to serve thousands of people.
Mobile Donations
Eberhard, 32, started Mobile Accord to help not-for-profits organize their mobile efforts. Its mGive platform -- which launched with 10 seconds of TV time during the 2008 Super Bowl -- has helped collect $41 million for Haiti since January.
Wireless for Global Health
Wireless innovations are changing the face of global health and much of the innovating is happening in the United States. From iPads to mobiles and from diabetes to malaria, the benefits of the innovations cross borders.
Ning for the Masses
Vincent Maher, the team lead on Vodacom's The Grid, recently broke away to launch Motribe, a mobile-based Ning-like app for mobile users in Africa and emerging markets. The potential uses for social good are diverse--from health to microfinance to education and beyond.
Ushahidi: Mobile-Based Crowd-Sourced Reporting
Erik Hersman's Ushahidi has made headlines over the past two years and this year the organization's role was no less notable as they allowed voters in Kenya to report on anything from suspicious behavior to mishaps with ballots and voting machines during the country's constitutional referendum.
Pen and Paper Emails via Mobiles
HP Labs India will soon release an application for mobile phones that will allow people to simply write a message on paper, take a picture of the message, and send that text as an email to an addressee at the price of $0.22 per email. The technology will connect millions of villagers--who presently have no access to computers or the Internet--to India's booming digital landscape.
Smartphone-enabled Bike Sharing
SoBi's (Social Bicycle System) is set to make bike sharing a whole lot easier by allowing users to look up, reserve, and return bikes all with a phone. At this rate, computers and docking stations may soon become antiquities...
World Food Programme Data Collection in Burundi
Smartphones are now being deployed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in Burundi as data collectors, making data collection on food needs a whole lot easier and more efficient. The World Food Programme is a UN Agency delivering food aid to the world's least developed countries--and the hardest-hit disaster-stricken areas--and within any large bureaucracy, a tool like the smartphone is a welcome addition to save time and avoid handwriting-induced interpretation errors. Read more here.

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Good Goes Mobile

From health to finance to public cycling, mobile technologies are changing the face of social innovation. Here are some of our favorite ideas.

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