Monday Morning Gamification: Games Help AIDS Research
Researchers have used an online video game, Foldit, involving thousands of players to uncover the structure of a protein that could help in AIDS research.
When playing video games, setting a new high score is seen as somewhat of a major achievement. Likewise, there is nothing more satisfying then unlocking a trophy or an achievement. Well, you may have to rethink what constitutes success as some people have now helped scientists in their quest to discover more about the AIDS virus – makes getting a trophy seem kind of poxy doesn’t it?
Researchers at the University of Washington got people to play a game called Foldit, which required players to fold proteins into intricate shapes in order to discover the structure of an enzyme from a virus similar to AIDS that is present in rhesus monkeys. Knowing the structure of this enzyme could prove key in finding ways of curing AIDS, but obviously there is still a long way to go yet. 57, 000 players took part in the online experiment, and all of them will be credited in the final research paper – that’s going to be one long list of names.