Discovering Project Discovery

I’ve been looking forward to Project Discovery for some time now and today I finally got to trial it out on Singularity.  Without too many expectations going into it, I found it to be an extremely fun, yet challenging, mini game that I can quite easily see becoming a bit of a time sink for me once it hits Tranquility.

For the uninitiated, Project Discovery is a joint venture between CCP and The Human Protein Atlas, a Swedish research project attempting to catalogue all of the various proteins within the human body (basically its the Human Genome Project but at the protein level instead).

Players are presented with a real image of cells that have been stained, and are tasked with identifying various cellular features.  Its a typically mundane task for a research scientist, and with millions of images waiting to be processed, it is a task that can eat into time spent doing other researcher-y things.

In game though is where it gets interesting though, as its a “sekrit” project run by our favourite humanitarians the Sisters of Eve.  In particular, we are helping the research efforts of one Professor Lundberg.  I’ll be interested to see if this will get lore-ified in some way, such as investigating Drifter biology or researching why some humans can become capsuleers while others cannot.

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The mini-game is pretty straight forward (you can access it in the Neocon menu under “Business”) – you start off with images that have been “solved” and select the features you identify – for example nucleus, cytoplasm, centriole, golgi apparatus etc.  No biology background is necessary though – after running the tutorial you begin to get an understanding of what some of the different features look like and it becomes an exercise in pattern recognition.

Later you begin to receive images that have not been “solved”.  Here is where the real citizen science begins.  Your accuracy is compared to other players’ responses and some of the rewards are added once a statistically significant number of players agree on a solution.

Rewards for submitting your findings for each image are in the form of ISK and LP payments, as well as “research points” which appear to be linked to your personal “Scientist Rank”.  Your payouts are also linked to how accurate you are.  If you agree with the majority of others, begin to earn more.

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Nobody is going to get space rich off of this but it is enjoyable and for a science geek like me is a fun way to not only get involved in a body of real world scientific research but also provide an alternative to ship spinning/provide entertainment during our next alliance mining op…

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