If you are a gamer and a lover of biology, you are going to go crazy over Project Discovery, a new addition to the EVE game which promotes citizen science, according to International Business Times. This is an inventive collaboration between CCP Games, Human Protein Atlas, Massively Multiplayer Online Science, and Reykjavik University students. It allows players in-game to work on a special mission of evaluating images of cells in order to increase data in the atlas. Players are first given a tutorial on patterns of proteins in human cells by “Professor Lundberg”. Check out the video call to action.
Players are not only having fun in Project Discovery, but they are also contributing to a worthwhile cause in science which can be overwhelming in it’s use of time.
The Human Protein Atlas is creating a massive database of proteins to understand their function and connection to different diseases in cells. “To see it finally get out of a very successful testing stage and into the hands of hundreds of thousands of players worldwide is a proud milestone for us. We hope our example sets the stage for many other successful collaborations between science and gaming to come,” said Andie Nordgren, “EVE Online” executive producer, in a statement.
Of course part of the fun comes from earning additional points in the game as a scientist for the Sisters of EVE, as well as some bonus outfits. Although I’ve seen gaming for good, this example using integration into a popular game with a large community is really impressive. I can’t wait to hear stats on the improvements made to the atlas and I’m curious to learn how the program handles accuracy. Either way this is going to cause a stir in both the gaming and citizen science communities. Hopefully it will inspire your next hackathon or grow the bio-hacker side of you. If you feel a strange fascination with small parts and micro-organisms, you should also check out our USB Microscope with Precision Stand. It’s small and mighty, allowing you to get into tight spaces. It’s also got a nice halo of LEDs for illumination and is recognized by most webcam software on Windows (Quick Time Player fine for Macs). Have fun combining your interests by getting involved in a project that promotes discovery!