Facebook, Google and Amazon have united with Cancer Research UK for designing and development of a mobile game that would help to combat cancer. The objective of the game is to gather more eyes that could spot subtle irregularities in the genetic data that automated systems often miss out. Any person who owns a smartphone and can spare five minutes will be able to investigate important scientific data while playing the game.
The data gathered with the help of the gaming app will in turn aid the scientists in finding out reasons as why some drugs work for cancer and some don’t. According to Professor Carlos Caldas, senior group leader at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute, the reasons behind the working of drugs are stored in data that needs thorough analysis by human eye. He also explained that harnessing the collective power of citizen scientists’ would accelerate the discovery of new ways of diagnosis and treatment of cancer more precisely.
In order to give shape to the game, the charity held a hackathon called GameJam in London that ran from 1st – 3rd March 2013. Around 40 coders that included gamers, graphic designers, Facebook engineers and other specialists, participated in the GameJam. The three technology gurus, Google, Facebook and Amazon are providing different aids for the development of the final game.
While Facebook is sharing the experts of its engineering team, Amazon Web Services is providing the requisite platform for hosting the final game along with its technology resources. Google, on the other hand, is providing financial assistance. The technology experts from these tech Gurus are working on embedding the raw gene data into the new game, dubbed GeneRun. Scientists at Cancer Research UK expect that analysis of data through this game would drastically speed up the research work.
The game is expected to launch in mid 2013. However, sources say that if the game is able to pull off the expected results, then it has strong chances of qualifying as the most useful application of the gamification trend in history.