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A Branded Mobile Game Is Doing Ground-Breaking Scientific Research On Dementia

Deutsche Telekom teamed with University College London, The University of East Anglia, and game developers to turn play into valuable data.

WHAT: Sea Hero Quest, a new mobile game with the ulterior motive of collecting data to help researchers advance their understanding of spatial navigation, and therefore understand one of the first symptoms of dementia, and getting one-step closer to developing new diagnostic tests for dementia.

WHO: Deutsche Telekom, Saatchi & Saatchi London, University College London, The University of East Anglia, Glitchers, Alzheimer’s Research UK

WHY WE CARE: At one point in the case study film the impact of something as seemingly simple as a mobile game is laid bare—if 100,000 people play the game for two minutes, they will generate the equivalent of more than 50 years of similar, lab-based research. It's often just cool enough when a brand makes something that isn't annoying, and may actually entertain and amuse us. But here, Deutsche Telekom’s 200 million users, and the 3 billion hours people spend playing online and mobile games every week, is being harnessed to help advance research on an important condition facing tens of millions of people.

According to Saatchi & Saatchi London, the goal of the game is to create a global benchmark for how people navigate, widely acknowledged as a key step in developing new diagnostic tests for the diseases that cause dementia. All the data collected from the game will used by UCL, a leading dementia research faculty, but also be made available to scientists around the world.

The game is available free in the App Store and Google Play.

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