Cell phones, while small, are mighty. From loans to a life-saving crisis line, learn all about the ways our phones (smart, or otherwise) are paving pathways to a brighter, more accessible future.
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Demand a fair trade cell phone
Your mobile phone, computer and game console have a bloody past tied to tantalum mining, which funds the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Drawing on his personal story, activist and refugee Bandi Mbubi gives a stirring call to action. (Filmed at TEDxExeter.)
Digital humanitarianism
The disastrous earthquake in Haiti taught humanitarian groups an unexpected lesson: the power of mobile devices to coordinate, inform, and guide relief efforts. At TEDxRC2, Paul Conneally shows extraordinary examples of social media and other new technologies becoming central to humanitarian aid.
Get your next eye exam on a smartphone
Thirty-nine million people in the world are blind, and the majority lost their sight due to curable and preventable diseases. But how do you test and treat people who live in remote areas, where expensive, bulky eye equipment is hard to come by? TED Fellow Andrew Bastawrous demos a smartphone app and cheap hardware that might help.
How to avoid surveillance ... with the phone in your pocket
Who is listening in on your phone calls? On a landline, it could be anyone, says privacy activist Christopher Soghoian, because surveillance backdoors are built into the phone system by default, to allow governments to listen in. But then again, so could a foreign intelligence service ... or a criminal. Which is why, says Soghoian, some tech companies are resisting
Iqbal Quadir says mobiles fight poverty
Iqbal Quadir tells how his experiences as a kid in poor Bangladesh, and later as a banker in New York, led him to start a mobile phone operator connecting 80 million rural Bangladeshi -- and to become a champion of bottom-up development.
The heartbreaking text that inspired a crisis help line
When a young woman texted with a heartbreaking cry for help, the organization responded by opening a nationwide Crisis Text Line to provide an outlet for people in pain. Nearly 10 million text messages later, the organization is using the privacy and power of text messaging to help people with issues such as addiction, suicidal thoughts, eating
What can save the rainforest? Your used cell phone
The sounds of the rainforest include: the chirps of birds, the buzz of cicadas, the banter of gibbons. But in the background is the almost-always present sound of a chainsaw, from illegal loggers. Engineer Topher White shares a simple, scalable way to stop this brutal deforestation that starts with your old cell phone.