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How The Internet of Everything will Cure Cancer


Originally posted April 21, 2014 at 9:00 am PST on Cisco's perspectives section of their blog


I recently stumbled across a mobile app that will utilize the compute power of your mobile phone, while you sleep, to decrypt protein sequences for cancer research. Even though utilizing an idle computer CPU for research isn’t something new, it caught my attention because it has evolved to mobile devices. We often overlook the compute power and technical maturity of mobile phones in today’s world. Now that the new technical wave, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), is becoming more of a reality, we might want to keep in mind the possibilities of utilizing that technical power for the greater good.   The IoT brings compute power to devices we never imagined would ever have technical guts, like a street light. Lighting can be automatically increased when people or moving objects are detected and decreased during periods of inactivity, increasing energy efficiency without sacrificing safety.
"So how does a street light and the IoT cure cancer? It doesn’t…"

The IoT and a street light lack the human element, which is a key element in the Internet of Everything (IoE). Imagine that we add the human element to our street lights and sacrifice a day of energy efficiency a week to an army of smart street lights. Each light would be capable of comparing several sets of cancer protein data while normally sitting idle.   I’ve only used street lights as an example, but as all of our household devices become smarter, we can just as easily designate all of the idle processing power in our homes for cancer research while we sleep. We will soon see a day where we no longer donate money to cancer research, but instead donate idle CPU cycles. Until then, I will download this mobile app and get a good night’s sleep while my phone helps to cure cancer.

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