Unplug yourself: let your phone work for you

Phone Farm(ing)
Catalonia (Barcelona)

Today, smartphones are as fast as 120,000,000 Apollo 11 computers, which were capable of taking people to the moon. If we take Moore’s law into account, this capacity doubles every two years. Well, we can use this power, unplug ourselves and plug our phones into a Phone Farm – to distribute this power to a bigger network.

The smartphones in our pockets are truly magic machines. Full of sensors, they capture every move or change in our environment. Many companies already use that data for their own commercial interest. Wouldn’t it be nice to give this data anonymously to a database which is accessible for educational or scientific projects?

Phone Farm(ing) is about setting positive incentives to motivate people to stay away from their smartphones during social interaction, while creating a use for the community.

A network of farm stations can be placed in spaces like restaurants, bars or clubs and provide safe storage and charging for phones, whilst harvesting sensor data and processing power. These sources work towards an open source cloud database and computing network which can be used by the community to run projects for education, health or infrastructure on the network or utilise the sensor data for data projects. At the same time, the farmer will be rewarded with ‘Attention Coins’ which he can redeem for bounties like a drink at a bar or assign some of his coins to projects he would like to support to run on the network.

This motivation should lead to a drastic reduction of phone presence in social interaction places while utilising idle sensor data and processor capacity. This helps smaller communities and towns to map out their infrastructure, for example schools or universities could use the capacity of the computing network to teach machine learning or to run rendering processes.

This network should be accessible in rural regions or for projects with no access to a high amount of computing power or sensor data.

Designer Gábor László Mándoki studied a Masters in Design for Emergent Futures at the Institute of Advanced Architecture Catalonia in cooperation with ELISAVA, exploring the role of new technologies in the near future and learning how to tackle emergent societal challenges through future forecasting and the design of interventions.

Written by

Gábor László Mándoki (13 September 2019)


Art Director, musician and future designer from Munich, living in Barcelona

Project leader

Gabor Mandoki, Creator and designer

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