You’d be forgiven for thinking that charity work is just about fundraising and getting your hands dirty, supporting people and causes at grass roots level. However, this isn’t the sole purpose of charity work. Ultimately, every charity wants to find a permanent solution to to prevent the problems they are trying to address.
Charities also need innovative people to help research and develop solutions to the problems they are tackling. Many charities will invest some of their funding into research, and in itself, this can be a challenging and hugely rewarding job. Research offers a great career opportunity for an individual who has the skills for the role, coupled with the belief that they can help change the world with their ideas.
How Innovation Helps Charities
The Finding Rover smartphone app is a great example of a great innovation. Finding Rover is an iPhone app which makes use of facial recognition technology to identify and reunite lost dogs with their owners. It is currently only available in the US, but this kind of technologys is readily available and being used all over the world.
Here’s how the Finding Rover app works. Users are encouraged to register their dog in the database and upload a photo to a cloud server. At the same time, users are encouraged to take photos of any dogs they see which look lost and upload their pictures to the app.
Lost your dog? Upload a picture and mark the dog as missing in the app. The software scans the database for faces that match in the area. If a match is found, then the dog can be re-united with its owner.
The Finding Rober app is free to anyone who wants to use it, and it’s more than just a lost and found service. Users can also post tips and tricks as well as share cute photos with other members. That gives Finding Rover a fun, social edge that ensures it won’t be deleted from any phones in the meantime.
Responding to Social Demand
The app relies on developing a strong community of responsible dog owners – hence the social aspect. The more people involved, the better, since the database has to be built by virtual volunteers. Apps like this have the potential to be a powerful tool to help any dog rescue and rehoming charity to reunite lost pets with their owners, providing the charity has the support to build a database. Not only will more dogs be reunited, but the automatic matching algorithm means charity workers are freed up to work on other things.
Facial recognition technology is a new and cutting edge technique which is constantly being developed by IT organisations around the world. This app is a great example of how this type of technology can be used in a unique way to provide a new service to people in distress. Whilst the developers of facial recognition technology may not have imagined that it could be used to rescue dogs, it shows how innovative people can think outside the box and develop a useful new tool.
- Image credit Cheap photos
By Sam Wright