Participating in scientific research doesn’t necessarily require you to invest time or get an advanced degree. Many people can reach out to local research centers and find easy ways to help but if you’d like a much easier and even less taxing way to participate in the advancement of research and science, BOINC is an Android app that lets you put your idle Android device to work for it. You can choose one of the few available projects, and your device will automatically join the network of countless others to be used for research on it while its resources are idle. You can also restrict the app to run these tasks only when it’s charging, or only when it has a certain level of minimum battery charge.
After installation, you can select one of the listed institutes to support one of their projects. Once you select an institute, you have to register with the institute and then select a project to add, if it’s available for the Android device. At present, not all projects can be supported with your phone. You can view a brief description of each project and sign up or sign in to join it.
Once you’ve added one or more projects, the app lets you manage them and view progress across different tabs. The ‘Status’ tab indicates if a project is running or if it has been suspended. A project can be suspended manually from the ‘Projects’ tab, and the app itself can also be suspend if your device becomes too hot or low on battery power.
The preferences tab lets you enable notifications for when a project is suspended, and select the minimum battery level needed for running a project. By default, it is set to 90% and unless you rarely use your device or always have it connected to a power source, you might want to reduce it in order to contribute substantially.
Projects have tasks that run on your device. When you add a project, it doesn’t always have an active task available. For the ones that do, they get listed under the ‘Tasks’ tab, and each can be suspended or deleted. A task has a deadline and once it has been completed, it can be transferred back to the institute with the data that’s been collected. Transfers can be restricted to be sent only over WiFi from the app’s preferences.
If you don’t have an Android device, you can still support a project from your desktop using the Folding@Home app. Also, BOINC is available on other platforms as well (including Windows), and you can grab those from the project’s website linked at the end.