Design, engineering and utility of biotic games

Lab Chip. 2011 Jan 7;11(1):14-22. doi: 10.1039/c0lc00399a. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Abstract

Games are a significant and defining part of human culture, and their utility beyond pure entertainment has been demonstrated with so-called 'serious games'. Biotechnology--despite its recent advancements--has had no impact on gaming yet. Here we propose the concept of 'biotic games', i.e., games that operate on biological processes. Utilizing a variety of biological processes we designed and tested a collection of games: 'Enlightenment', 'Ciliaball', 'PAC-mecium', 'Microbash', 'Biotic Pinball', 'POND PONG', 'PolymerRace', and 'The Prisoner's Smellemma'. We found that biotic games exhibit unique features compared to existing game modalities, such as utilizing biological noise, providing a real-life experience rather than virtual reality, and integrating the chemical senses into play. Analogous to video games, biotic games could have significant conceptual and cost-reducing effects on biotechnology and eventually healthcare; enable volunteers to participate in crowd-sourcing to support medical research; and educate society at large to support personal medical decisions and the public discourse on bio-related issues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Phenomena*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*
  • Logic
  • Paramecium caudatum / drug effects
  • Paramecium caudatum / physiology
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Video Games
  • Yeasts / cytology
  • Yeasts / growth & development