Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

Gamers Help Scientific Breakthroughs for AIDS and Cancer

CJ Westerberg, September 19, 2011 1:43 PM

buildDigitGames.jpg

"Developed by researchers at the University of Washington,
Foldit turns scientific problems into competitive games."


This just in from PC World.  Great story going beyond the usual positive spin of gaming.  Excerpts: 

In just three weeks, gamers deciphered the structure of a key protein in the development of AIDS that has stumped scientists for years. According to a study published Sunday in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, the findings could present a significant breakthrough for AIDS and HIV research.

Using an online game called Foldit, players were able to predict the structure of a protein called retroviral protease, an enzyme that plays a critical role in the way HIV multiplies
 . . . (snip)

Developed by researchers at the University of Washington, Foldit turns scientific problems into competitive games. Players were charged with using spatial and critical thinking skills to build 3D models of protease. Few of these players had any kind of background in biochemistry

According to Fox, it took players a matter of days to come up with models  . . . (snip)

"People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at," Foldit's lead designer Seth Cooper said in a statement. "Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans."


The article continues to say that Foldit has also "aided in Cancer and Alzheimer's research".

Full article with link to full report HERE.  Plus, related Video Below.


Related The Daily Riff:

How Kids Learn Through Video Games with James Paul Gee (video)

Does Your School Know Scratch, Squeak or Alice?

Building Video Games - the New Summer Camp?

At-Risk Students Build Multi-Media - Edutopia


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