You know how your smartphone and computer just do nothing when you're not using them? You can now put those slackers to work in a noble cause: helping cure the Ebola virus. IBM's World Community Grid has teamed up with scientists from the Scripps Research Institute with the "Outsmart Ebola Together" project to tackle the deadly plague. The laboratory has been studying the virus for the last decade, and has mapped potential weak points in Ebola proteins. But the process of narrowing down promising drugs is computationally intensive, which is where you and your device come in.
So far, World Community Grid users have helped make breakthroughs in childhood neuroblastoma cancer, solar cell technology, water purification tech and more. If you register your tablet, smartphone or computer, the system will add you to the list of 680,000 volunteers and nearly 3 million devices. You can then select the Ebola project or any other you'd like to help on, and when you're not using your gadget, the grid will tap its CPU to solve a small piece of the chemical puzzle. With enough volunteers, it could potentially save the team decades of time in developing a cure -- and you don't even have to lift a finger.