Citizen Science literally means the science of the citizens and it indicates all the activities made by simple citizens for a specific scientific research. This means the collection and the sharing of datas and observation made by thousands of people useful to focus on a specific topic, or even to classify images or in the correct traduction of texts. But it is even possible to put into this meaning actions like the sharing of computing power of our own devices or even using the imagination or the creativity through scientific games and puzzle resolution.
Make Citizen Science with DreamLab
An example of Citizen Science is the app for iOS and Android DreamLab, realized by the Foundation Vodafone Italia, together with the Foundation AIRC for the Research about the Cancer. This application allows to help the work of the researchers of the Institute of Molecular Oncology thanks to the sharing of the computing power of the smartphone is on. The application is totally invisible to the user and it allows the Institute to develop datas about the computational genomic, which are the statistic analysis about the sequences of genome.
The application makes its studies by using the death times of the smartphone, it will switch on so during the night. While the smartphone is on charge it automatically download the datas of the database of the research’s institute. By using so the unused computing power because the owner is sleeping. This kind of applications are already in use for a while in Australia, New Zeland and United Kingdom.
Dreamlab is setted to switch on by itself the unused smartphone, when it’s tied in the house power, so do not finding the phone out of charge in the morning. Therefore it must be even connected to a mobile network or to a wi-fi with internet. In this way the app starts to talk with the Institute and to send and receive datas about the calculation of the Genome in 3D, the researchers infact are trying to understand the interactions between the genes. They infact want to create a three-dimensional map of the DNA inside the core of the cells. Especially the researchers are focusing on the realization of personalized treatments to fight the breast cancer.
The app for the environment
Another example of Citizen Science instead is the project of the national institute of oceanographic and experimental geophysics (OGS) that launched the app avvistAPP. It’s available for iOS and Android and it allows to sign sightings of the mnemiopsis leiydi. The Mnemiopsis leidyi are gelatinous organisms really similar to the jelly fishes. Their natural habitat is around the atlantic seasides of America, by the way they now arrived to the offshore and they are invading our seas.
They are extremely invasive and they are an important problem for the sea ecosystem because they don’t have any predator. They eat eggs and larvae of fishes and they are considered between the 100 invasive species more dangerous of the world. The application allows so to send images of the sightsigns to allow the researchers to have an accurate overview of the situation of health of our seas. Through the app it’s then possible to sign the sightsigns even of other species like jelly fishes, dolphins and turtles.
Legambiente instead created the app Gaia Observer and it uses the Citizen Science too. Here, always the citizens, are called to send images to sign illegal lendfills, fires or activities of illegal hunting straight to the relevant authorities. It wants then to be even a practical way to protect the air (by reporting areas too much busy), the water (by checking left wastes), the biodiversity (by checking invasive alien species),but even the environmental illegals and the protection of the cultural heritage.
This post is also available in: Italiano