Who says that playing video games is bad for health? Last week Cancer Research UK launched the world’s first new smart phone app designed to engage the public with the task of unraveling data about genes. Through completing space missions where players must avoid obstacles on an intergalactic assault course, players are providing researchers with clues about the formation of genes such that they can identify cancer causing genes and their relevant flaws. This the public’s chance to get involved with the complex world of gene sequencing!
The genius of this game is that, whilst computers can of course process data far quicker than humans, their accuracy rating is lower than that of humans. But it would take hundreds of years for researchers to plough through all the data by themselves. Leading on from games such as FoldIt, a game where participants are invited to try and fold genes in as effective a way as possible, the idea behind Genes in Space is to use the public to cut down the time required for human analysis of the data- thus potentially speeding up the discovery of a Cure for Cancer!
“It is available to download now for free here for anyone with an Android or Apple Smartphone. When playing this fun and interactive spaceship game, people will simultaneously analyse Cancer Research UK’s gene data, highlighting genetic faults which can cause cancer – and ultimately help scientists develop new treatments.”
You can also find out more information by reading the BBC’s analysis of this ‘Science’s new frontier’ here.