By Mark O’Neill
For years, you’ve probably played computer games and helped save beautiful princesses, defeated the evil warlocks, blasted away your enemies and racked up countless points. But how about playing a different game this time? One in which the better you get, the more chance you have to help make real medical discoveries such as a cure for HIV or advances for Alzheimer’s and vaccines? Wouldn’t that shut up all your critics (like your parents) who accuse you of wasting time in front of a Playstation?
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new free online game called Foldit which is designed to turn protein folding into a competitive sport. These same researchers want to use the competitive spirits of gamers in the hope that there are people out there who will play the game over and over in a quest to become faster and faster and in doing so, help medical science for the better.
I know what you’re thinking. Protein folding? Yawn! Give me a gun and a bad guy to kill! But apparently the game is very addictive. The game has been described as a “21st-century version of Tetris” and already countless volunteers have signed up. I’m one of them. Want to join me? Come on, think of the medical research! Your inner geek is talking to you! Just look at that protein structure! Isn’t it a BEAUTY?!
**PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO EXCESSIVE DEMAND THE FOLDIT SITE IS RUNNING VERY SLOWLY. IF YOU CAN’T GET THROUGH, TRY AGAIN LATER**
Via Science Daily