Playing This Videogame Helps Scientists Understand How Our Brains Age
Sea Hero Quest gathers data from players to offer scientist important research information
Most videogames get a bad rap for being mindless activities that take away from our ability to use our brains. Self-described as a “mobile game with a difference,” Sea Hero Quest not only makes players use their brains, it also lets scientists gather data that will help with dementia research. The game was created by GLITCHERS in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom, the University College London and University of East Anglia.
According to Sea Hero Quest’s official website, a new case of dementia is discovered every three seconds. The website goes on to explain that people spend 3 billion hours a week playing games—naturally, that time could be used for a good cause. In just two minutes, users can “generate the same amount of data that scientists would take five hours to collect in similar, lab-based research.”
Players must complete missions like chasing down sea creatures and finding their way out of mazes. The game also lets users shoot flares. These actions help to assess how refined the player’s orientation and directional skills are.
According to the game’s description in the Apple Store, “one of the first symptoms of dementia is loss of navigational skills.” What Sea Hero Quest allows is for researchers to store “navigational data” from the users in order to track how players take on tasks involving these skills. This way, they can better assess whether a patient’s inability to use navigational skills indicates old age or something more, like dementia.
Sea Hero Quest is available for both Apple and Android.