UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund) has devised a rather ingenious way for people to help out in a way that is simple but probably also difficult for some. With the Tap Project, every minute you spend not using your mobile device will be matched by a day of clean water from one of UNICEF’s sponsors.
There have been various satirical videos or photos that have pointed out people’ sometimes obsessive attachment to their smartphones or tablets. Some can barely let go of their device, much less look up to appreciate the things around them. For some, being estranged from their dear device is already requires great deal of sacrifice and that is something UNICEF wants to harness for this endeavor.
Joining is actually quite easy, simply go to the project website and follow the instructions. Lay down your device on the a flat surface and leave it there for a while as you accumulate minutes that get translated into days of clean water thanks to sponsors. Technically, the web app uses the device’s accelerometer to determine if the device is being used or not. As such, you can actually still touch and swipe your device without triggering the sensor. Do take note that your device’s display won’t turn off while the app is running, so there might be some battery drain involved as well.
The concept and particularly the challenge is almost so simple that it sounds ridiculous. Given the mechanics mentioned, it might also be easy to game the activity as well. Of course, UNICEF is also accepting cash donations, along the lines of $1 for 40 days of clean water, that will let you help provide safe, clean water without detaching your hand from your smartphone.