Josef Bless, a PhD candidate in psychology at the University of Bergen in Norway, was listening to music on his phone when he noticed the similarity between what he was doing and the research he conducted in his lab every day.
Bless's research group, the Bergen fMRI Group, regularly uses a test called dichotic listening to measure brain function. Each ear hears a different syllable at the same time. The syllable the listener hears the clearest indicates which side of the brain is more active during language processing.
So Bless and his fellow researchers developed iDichotic, an app released for the iPhone/iPod in 2011. Using their phones, the app's users can participate in the group's research without ever having to go into the lab.