Posts Tagged ‘science computer game’

The Science Game Center – Video Games that Teach Science

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 02-20-2013

The Science Game Center (SGC) launched on April 19, 2012 and serves as a clearing house for all types of games for science education – card games, board games, video games and more. Games that also generate science data are also featured. For example, Eyewire is a brand new game from MIT that intends to map the human brain my crowd sourcing. Eyewire is from Sebastian Seung’s lab at MIT.

Serving as a central resource for educators to find games to use to teach students and as a resource to assist game developers in reaching their audience, the SGC is a valuable resource in a growing field. Key to the value the SGC offers is the opportunity for educators, scientists, and players to post their reviews of the games. Not only will these reviews inform teachers about how the games have been used by others, reviews will provide constructive feedback to the game developers about the accuracy of the scientific representations and about how much players enjoy the games. To make the SGC as useful as possible, we need reviews of games by the scientific community. Help us out; review some games. Take a break from reviewing technical papers, give one of the games a try, then try it again with your kids and submit your thoughts. Your reactions as a scientist may help guide teachers seeking games, and your review will be tempered by the comments of 5th graders.

For additional comments or questions, please contact David Orloff, Project Director or Melanie Stegman, Ph.D., Director of Learning Technologies Program at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). The FAS has also developed its own game Immune Attack and is currently developing the sequel, Immune Defense.This project is supported in part by a competitive grant from the Entertainment Software Association Foundation (ESAF). FAS has supported research in effective learning technologies since 2001. See for more information about Learning Technologies at FAS.

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Twitter: @scigame and @melanieanns

Thanks to David Orloff for submitting this guest post.

Arcade Games Biotic Style

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 01-17-2011

We found a great post this past weekend on which we thought we’d share with you. Author David Zax describes an interactive video game designed by researchers in the bioengineering department of Stanford University that uses living cells as part of the game mechanics. These “Biotic Games” are played much like any arcade classic however characters such as Pac-Man are substituted with paramecium instead.

Checkout the video below from Stanford University and be sure to read the full blog post at

The study was published in the latest issue of Lab on a Chip which can be retreived by following the link below:
Riedel-Kruse IH, Chung AM, Dura B, Hamilton AL, & Lee BC (2011). Design, engineering and utility of biotic games. Lab on a chip, 11 (1), 14-22 PMID: 21085736

Foldit! Guilt-Free Computer Gaming for Protein Scientists

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-10-2010

Do you ever feel guilty that you’ve wasted time playing computer games while you could have been doing something more productive? Perhaps instead of online car racing or shooting up virtual enemies you could have been completing household chores, keeping up to date with progress in your area of research or making headway with that paper you’ve been working on.

Or perhaps you could have been contributing to the field of proteomics by helping solve protein structures! If you like computer games but hate the pangs of guilt that come with it, foldit is the game for you.

Biochemists and computer scientists at the University of Washington two years ago launched an ambitious project harnessing the brainpower of computer gamers to solve medical problems.

The game, Foldit, turns one of the hardest problems in molecular biology into a game a bit reminiscent of Tetris. Thousands of people have now played a game that asks them to fold a protein rather than stack colored blocks or rescue a princess.

Players are given a real amino acid sequence and are asked to fold it into the most appropriate structure that uses the least amount of structural energy. As players proceed with the 3-D puzzle, parts of the protein structure with high structural energy are highlighted in red, prompting the player to try a different configuration. Points are awarded based on how close the protein structure comes to the ideal configuration.

Besides finding new protein structures, Foldit players are helping refine algorithms used by protein folding software enabling them to become more efficient at solving structural proteomic problems.

Foldit’s inventor Seth Cooper and his team recently published a paper in Nature entitled “predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game.” I tried checking out the website the day the paper was released but traffic to the site following the paper’s publication and associated press coverage crashed foldit’s servers. Foldit has since published an explanation of what happened and assures all wannabe structural biologists that the game is back online with all of its original functionality.