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Video Games and Gamers Help Unlock the Cure to AIDS

September 20, 2011Written by Cameron Teague

Games and gamers are constantly receiving a bad rap from the media and parents, saying that the two do little for society and drive many to a life of crime. They might not be able to say that much longer as gamers and a video game called Foldit have helped scientists figure out the protein and molecular structure of AIDS, a problem scientists have had for a very long time and that took gamers only 10 days to answer.

The game was developed by the University of Washington and challenges gamers to take Amino Acids and unfold them to build blocks of protein, with the game being likened to Tetris. The game was originally meant to educate students, but has done much more than that, with a major piece now solved. ¬†Firas Khatib, a biochemist at the University of Washington told MSNBC that “this is one small piece of the puzzle in being able to help with AIDS.”

Seth Cooper, lead designer and developer of the game explained:

People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at. Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week’s paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before.

So there you have it world, video games and the people who play them can do some good if given the chance and this is the perfect example of that.