Sea Hero Quest will provide data that will help researchers better understand how diseases like Alzheimer’s affect the brain.
Sea Hero Quest follows the story of a young man who sails the ocean recovering his father’s lost memories. Rather than being given points on a map to follow, players must navigate the world themselves using methods that test their memory and orientations skills. Understanding how people navigate 3D environments is important because the skill is often one of the first lost by people who have dementia.
By playing Sea Hero Quest, researchers hope to create a database of anonymous data about how the healthy human brain navigates, which will then help them determine what causes navigational cognition to go wrong for people suffering from the disease. The more people who play the game, the more valuable data will be created which can then be used by researchers.
The free game was developed by the charity, researchers from University College London and the University of East Anglia, with the backing of communications giant Deutsche Telekom.
Related: BBC News Mobile game Sea Hero Quest ‘helps dementia research’