In recent years, many scientists have turned to crowdsourcing as a way to outsource some of the more tedious aspects of their research. To make the work less monotonous for laypeople, they often develop games to distract citizen scientists from mind-numbing reams of data large amounts of data. Cancer Research U.K. has done this with its Play to Cure: Genes in Space and Cell Slider games. Their latest is Reverse The Odds, which encourages citizen scientists to help a group of colorful creatures known as the “Odds,” whose world is falling into decline. By completing mini puzzle games and upgrading their land, volunteers can restore the Odds back to their lively selves.
The images that citizen scientists see are actually magnified samples of real head and neck, lung, and bladder cancer tumor tissue donated by former patients. By answering simple questions about this data, volunteers help scientists to learn more about cancer, and more effectively prescribe the most appropriate treatment options for future patients. The premise is that humans beings are better than computers at recognizing the patterns required. Such crowdsourced games are a force multiplier for scientists racing against time to improve cancer treatments.