Borderlands Science was released today as a mini game inside of Borderlands 3. This game within a game is not only intended to be fun to play, but also provides tangible benefits to the scientific community. You can see the trailer above.
Created in collaboration with McGill University, Massively Multiplayer Online Science, and The Microsetta Initiative, this mini-game helps scientists understand and map microbes found in the human gut.
Borderlands Science can be found aboard Sanctuary III, in Doctor Tannis’ infirmary. The aim of the game is to match colored blocks in lines. The player is faced with a grid and pushes the blocks up to match them. Each puzzle has a target score to complete in order to progress onto the next. By completing levels, players can earn in game currency to spend on new items or buff character stats.
So how does this help the scientific community? The blocks represent DNA from gut microbes. By analyzing gameplay, scientists are able to train their AI models to identify similar DNA strains. Their goal is to help research while players are having fun.
The data The Microsetta Initiative collects will be used to further the study of microbiomes. Conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s are all associated with microbes. By furthering research, scientists will be able to help these medical fields. The data will be available to the entire community.
Source: Borderlands (YouTube)