A UK-based charity, Cancer Research UK, announced that it will create “a damn good [mobile] game,” its second title focused on understanding cancer by using crowdsourced citizen science.
Partnering with Google, Facebook and Amazon, Cancer Research UK held a hackathon in March to gamify the dull yet crucial pattern recognition technique needed to sort through the enormous amount of data they collected. Computer algorithms are not as efficient at this particular task, whereas the human eye naturally excels at finding similarity in images. By using the crowd to sort through data, scientists are free to move on to next step experiments.
Cancer Research UK will select one game from the twelve prototypes created at the hackathon, releasing it to the public by the end of the year. The charity’s first game, Cell Slider, allowed citizen scientists to sort cancer cells from both white blood cells and normal tissue cells that appeared on the same sample slide.
The new mobile app will turn scientific discovery into a game, which the charity hopes will boost participation, and make the experience, well, fun.