The Gamification of Science

Videos are somewhat of a recent phenomenon but anyone who’s a fan of them know that they’re really hard to stop playing once you get started. There are plenty of reasons for this, many are immersive and are the perfect escape from realty. Others feed off of people’s natural competitive nature with scoreboards and incentives like achievements, rewards and badges. The reason games are so appealing is rooted deep in human psychology and there has been a recent trend to take advantage of this called gamification.

The definition of Gamification taken from Wikipedia: the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. This is the idea behind Foldit. It’s a game which researchers have developed in order to enlist the help of gamers in deciphering the structure of a key protein in the development AIDS. It’s a structure which scientists haven’t been able to identify for years but now have thanks to the online game Foldit. And it only took gamers three weeks to come up with the answer. This is a great story of games being used to solve real world problems and you can read more about Foldit here.