Gaming for Science
In a fabulous example of technology benefiting society, the Alzheimers Society has partnered with University College London, University of East Anglia and communications company Deutsche Telekom to develop a game which will could help develop tests for the early diagnosis of alzhiemers.
The way players navigate the 3D levels in Sea Hero Quest will be anonymously tracked and sent to the researchers.
The routes taken in the online world generate heat maps – analsyis of which can measure spatial reasoning. Users can play anonymously or select to input their age, gender and location.
Spatial navigation failing is one of the signs of alzheimers and the data from the game will be used to develop diagnostic tests.
Discussed as an online citizen science experiment, the data generation numbers are significant. Dr Hugo Spiers, from UCL, said that in one minute on one day, 200 people played the game which is equivalent to the number of lab tests he could do in one year.