Players can help scientists fight dementia, in Virtual Reality
Alzheimer’s Research UK has teamed up with Deutsche Telekom to release Sea Hero Quest in Virtual Reality (VR). The game, in which players help scientists understand how diseases like Alzheimer’s affect the brain, collected anonymous spatial navigation data from 3 million players on mobile.
The VR version of Sea Hero Quest will allow scientists to cross-validate data collected on the mobile version an to get more data to create a new benchmark for navigation behaviour in people. Sea Hero Quest VR will also be an opportunity for scientists to capture additional complementary data that could not be measured in the less immersive mobile version of the game.
Dr. Hugo Spiers of University College London, explained:
With Sea Hero Quest VR we have also been able to replicate highly credible lab-based experiments such as the ‘Morris Water Maze’ (winner of the 2016 ‘Brain Prize’) that would not translate well to video or mobile game format. The intuitive nature of VR means that the study can be opened up to those who might not be able to grasp the function of the mobile game – some people with advanced dementia for example.Dr. Hugo Spiers, UCL
Although many scientists already use VR for experiments, this seems to be the first citizen science VR game.
The game has been developed to work with the Samsung Gear VR headset and is available to download for free from the Oculus Store. Sea Hero Quest mobile is still available to download for free via the App Store and Google Play.