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Frugal Innovation Hub

Mobile for Social Benefit Lab

Welcome to the Mobile for Social Benefit Lab!

Woman reading from an instruction manual and interacting on a phone.

Cellular phones are bringing computing to under-served communities. As people in these communities across the globe lack access to information, but do own cellular phones, apps are filling the gap by delivering meaningful information to improve lives.

The Mobile for Social Benefit Lab spearheads SCU's participation in the explosive field of mobile health, money, agriculture, and a plethora of other application areas that address various human needs around the world. This lab provides an environment for students to evaluate technology solutions used in the field, and enables the development of a comprehensive set of mobile applications for underserved communities that have limited access to life sustaining resources.

Dr. Silvia Figueira’s research is in the areas of performance evaluation and prediction, recently with a focus on energy efficiency. She leads the Mobile for Social Benefit Lab and advises students working on mobile applications for underserved communities and emerging markets.  Dr. Figueira is the Director of the Frugal Innovation Hub.


Examples of projects in this lab:

Students: Aiden Barbari, James Mack, James Terry

Advisor: Silvia Figueira

The British Airways-sponsored Beacon Pack is a solar-powered data repository that stores educational and world news content accessible through SMS text. This product will provide information to millions of individuals in developing countries who have low-level cellular devices.

Students: Daniel Beyers, Jasper Tan, Brandon Young

Advisor: Silvia Figueira

We present a simple, affordable, and portable system that works with a three-electrode device to detect contaminants in drinking water. The system comprises a potentiostat to perform voltammetric sweeps, an Android application to interface with a smartphone, and a database application for the mapping of results.

Students: Christen Nguyen, Sean Thomas, Adrienne Tiña

Advisor: Silvia Figueira

Afrobarometer is an organization that collects data on African infrastructure. This project will make this data

available via tablets throughout Africa. Of particular interest to this project is data caching to enhance performance. This application allows users to access comprehensible data. Future work concerns the application’s compatibility on commercial-size touchscreens.