AtlasNews: 7 December 2017
Happy text-day! 9 ways your phone makes life better 
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📱Celebrating the phone

We're big fans of simple tech that makes things better. While mobile Internet rapidly becomes a primary source of knowledge, not everyone is connected. But SMS, the default messaging tool in parts of the developing world, still only requires simple feature phones. Last weekend the millennial 'Short Message Service' (it used to be very short!) turned 25.

From sperm texts to seeing your guts, this week’s AtlasNews celebrates the phone, because mobile-based solutions have incredible powers; Gifted Mom is an African app that can stop mother and baby deaths with caring messages, WeFarm spreads grassroots crowdsourced agricultural knowledge to remote farmers via texts, and Hello Tractor's platform allows tractor owners to rent them out via... you guessed it... SMS.

Q ► What did the first ever SMS say in 1992? Answer at the end. (It's deep!)

Make your sperm count

YO Sperm Test might sound like a LOL-athon, but this isn’t a game. Proving fertility apps aren’t just for women, the smartphone is making medical testing easy, accessible and fun. And less awkward.
The world in your ear

It's a classic story of boy meets girl, boy can’t speak French, boy creates a phone app. The Pilot are in-ear translators that remove language barriers. Think Star Trek meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

See your insides

"We’re born curious. It’s incredibly important that tech like this connects us and doesn’t isolate us. To be truly important virtual reality needs to start having an impact on society.”
Ed Barton, Co-founder and CEO, Curiscope

Virtuali-Tee uses augmented reality via smartphone to project biology onto children to teach them about anatomy. The t-shirt with 'guts' teleports kids inside their bodies in animated pulsating 3D.

Watch ► X-ray vision – gruesome or awesome?!

SMS can end indignity

Click for chronic meds

No more long queues

This isn’t clickbait: an electrical engineer based in South Africa has designed an automated locker system that allows people with chronic conditions to collect their repeat medication in under two minutes. Technovera's technology-enabled Pelebox works with the click of a button; an SMS text message that unlocks relief.

Watch ► No more waiting for hours


Barcelona, Catalonia

Familyar is an app that can prevent loneliness and social isolation by connecting older people with family, friends and healthcare services. This really simple project was mapped by you. Keep submitting!

AtlasAction ► Download the anti-loneliness app


Want to charge your phone?

This is the Buffalo stance

Mobile phones might be increasing their penetration, but it’s common for farmers in rural India or Africa to travel for hours to reach the nearest town to charge them or get connectivity. BuffaloGrid gets power to the people who need it most – those who can't afford it.

Watch ► Connecting the next billion

Creative? We want you!

Are you a creator or hub of art-ivists focused on social change? CultureFutures is our new storytelling project with Goldsmiths University and the British Council’s Creative Economy. Together we're showcasing the artists, curators and collectives who help build a better – and more imaginative – world.

AtlasAction ► Submit creative/cultural projects here

Q: What did the first ever SMS say in 1992?

A: Merry Christmas!

Check out our Instagram

Follow the Atlas Instagram to see what we're up to – from testing the latest VR gadgets and observing the rewilding of baby giant pandas, to FutureHero interviews and our top projects. Plus, we take you behind the scenes on our AtlasVideos shoots.

Look! ► Tomorrow's innovators – in pictures


Comment on projects, interviews and videos to get your own Atlas of the Future avatar. Join the conversation anywhere on the site to have your say. Because the future is for everybody.

(Who wouldn't want to be an astronaut?)

Submit your project

At Atlas of the Future we love projects that find new, original or creative solutions to a problem. But to help us truly democratise the future, we need you. Is your project past the stage of outline idea, drawing board concept or lab research and for social good? We want to hear from you. Submit your project here.

Atlas Productions

We are proud to create the videos on Project Breakthrough - a new platform by United Nations Global Compact and John "grit in the corporate oyster" Elkington and his Volans team. If you'd like to work with us contact us about your content needs.
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