UCLA Targets Malaria with Online Gaming

Mike Miliard | Healthcare IT News | May 3, 2012

UCLA researchers have created a crowd-sourced online gaming system in which players distinguish malaria-infected red blood cells from healthy ones by viewing digital images obtained from microscopes.

Working on the assumption that large groups of public non-experts can be trained to recognize infectious diseases with the accuracy of trained pathologists, researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA developed the online game, which is being billed as a new front for telepathology.

The UCLA team found that a small group of non-experts playing the game (mostly undergraduate student volunteers) was collectively able to diagnosis malaria-infected red blood cells with an accuracy that was within 1.25 percent of the diagnostic decisions made by a trained medical professional. The game, which can be accessed on smartphones and personal computers, can be played by anyone, worldwide, including children, officials say...