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Play to Cure: new iOS game lets players help cure cancer as they surf through space

post #1 of 7
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British charity Cancer Research UK on Wednesday released Genes in Space, an intergalactic perpetual flight game for Apple's iOS that leverages users' in-game activity to search out patterns in DNA microarray data.



Gamers are put in command of a spaceship and sent on a mission to collect "Element Alpha," a fictional material that helps power the space exploration effort. The valuable element can be bought and sold on an in-game market for credits that allow users to upgrade their ship with faster engine, more powerful weapons, or stronger shields.

The game's maps are generated from real-life DNA microarray data that is waiting to be analyzed. By playing, users are actually helping researchers identify patterns in the data that could lead to the discovery of genetic faults that cause cancer.

Offline play is possible, but the game does require an internet connection to transmit DNA information between the handset and research labs. The developers say that each transfer uses approximately 250 kilobytes of data.

Genes in Space version 1.1 is available now as a free, 99.8-megabyte download from the App Store.
post #2 of 7
Neat idea! Scientific crowd-sourcing of not just computing power (like Folding@Home) but human brainpower. Hope it succeeds and is emulated in other fields!
post #3 of 7
This sounds like the SETI@home program, right? Except for cancer instead of aliens.
post #4 of 7
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Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

This sounds like the SETI@home program, right? Except for cancer instead of aliens.
In other words for something useful. 1smile.gif

Author of The Fuel Injection Bible

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Author of The Fuel Injection Bible

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post #5 of 7
Love it. Sorta steam punk mechanical Turk distributed pattern matching.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #6 of 7
This game is kind of like ingress, an crowd sourced game, but instead of letting a big brother track you everywhere, it cures cancer...
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Neat idea! Scientific crowd-sourcing of not just computing power (like Folding@Home) but human brainpower. Hope it succeeds and is emulated in other fields!

 

Actually it is, and has been for a while.  Check out their About page for some success.

 

http://fold.it/portal/info/about

 

I can't find it now, but they had success in a discovery based on gameplay that was done in under a year what they estimated scientist would've taken decades to figure out.

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