Android users in the Bay Area, here's how you can help save lives!

Most Android apps are designed to keep you busy, to distract and take you out of the real world. But just because you're browsing through Reddit or double-tapping on Instagram photos doesn't make the rest of the world disappear.

Our friends at Nodle have developed a really interesting new app for those in the San Francisco Bay Area to connect to one another using just the Bluetooth radios in their Android phones. The app itself, called Noodle! Coins, connects Android phones together in what Nodle calls "The Citizen Network." From the company's launch blog post:

Noodle! Coins is a combination of virtual currency and Pokemon. By moving around the city of San Francisco, players collect "Noodles".The Citizen Network will help your community find lost items, locate the nearest bike to rent, or gather data from local air pollution sensors. Citizens working together will drive down the cost of connectivity and provide a new way for Makers to bring their devices online.

To spur downloads, Nodle is donating $1 to the SF-Marin Food Bank for each Noodle! Coins install. The Citizen Network can only work when there's a critical mass of people building up a community of shared data, and using the app helps keep people fed and build this awesome project.

Using Bluetooth LE, hardware data is shared anonymously to Nodle's cloud, which then forms a link to help the network keep track of specific items. It's not dissimilar to what you'd see from companies like Tile, only instead of dedicated hardware, Nodle is using the thing you always have with you — your phone. In fact, Nodle powers the network of Tile's competitor, Trackr.

Each time someone in the city of San Francisco signs up, we will make a $1 donation. If you invite your friends by sending them a link and they sign up for Noodle! (and join the competition) you earn 50,000 Noodle! Coins and we will make another $1 donation.

It's easy to sign up, so if you're in the San Francisco area, give it a go and help Nodle donate money to the SF-Marin Food Bank before the year is up.

Download Noodle! Coins (free)

Daniel Bader

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central.