NEWS IN ENGLISH | Mobile game to fight dementia
Mobile game to fight dementia
2016-05-05 10:08:00

A two minutes game can replace hundreds of years of research:
In an international cooperation, a mobile game was launched by Telekom contributing to the progress in dementia research
  • The mobile game titled "Sea Hero Quest" was launched specifically developed to create the world's largest, community cooperation based data pool, to promote progress in the field of dementia research.

  • The charity purpose initiative is implemented in the frame of the cooperation between highly regarded foreign scientists, researchers, game developers and the Deutsche Telekom Group.

  • 100,000 people playing the game for 2 minutes can generate a data base equaling 50 years of laboratory research.

  • By involving Hungarian professional partners, Magyar Telekom raises attention to the importance of fighting dementia, encouraging everyone to download the game to assist scientific research.

All national companies of the Deutsche Telekom Group, including also Magyar Telekom, have launched today an innovative new mobile game named Sea Hero Quest, where fun gameplay also contributes to very good cause. Sea Hero Quest is a multi platform mobile game specifically designed to help advance our understanding of spatial navigation and how this aspect of our brain works, as part of a coordinated effort to bring us one step closer to managing the growing threat of dementia.

According to the The Global Impact of Dementia (2013-2050) report, dementia will affect 135 Million people worldwide by 2050. Dementia disrupts the formation of new memories often leaving those affected isolated and disorientated. For many people living with dementia, one of the first effects they experience is a loss of spatial awareness, as they lose the ability to navigate their way through even well-known places and environments.

In a process led by Saatchi & Saatchi London, with involvement of renowned scientists, researchers and the Glitchers game developers, every aspect of the newly presented Sea Hero Quest has been designed to provide insights about the way we navigate everyday. As players make their way through mazes of islands and icebergs, every second of gameplay can be translated into scientific data by experts. Playing Sea Hero Quest for 2 minutes equates to 5 hours of similar, conventional research. If 100,000 people play for 2 minutes each we can generate the equivalent of more than 50 years of this kind of lab based research.

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at the charity Alzheimer's Research commented:
"We have never seen anything undertaken in dementia research at this scale before. The data set that Deutsche Telekom's Sea Hero Quest generates is truly unprecedented, until now these kind of investigations took years to coordinate and at best gave us a snap shot of how a very small sample of volunteers behaved. The largest spatial navigation study to date comprised less than 600 volunteers. Providing the research community with access to an open source data set of this nature, at this scale, in such a short period of time is exactly the kind of innovation required to unlock the next breakthrough in dementia research".
Dementia and its most frequent version, the Alzheimer disease is also a major problem in Hungary: the estimated number of directly impacted people is about 250 thousand, however as this disease category also effects the patients' environment significantly, it is no exaggeration that dementia is present in the life of 1 million Hungarians.

Magyar Telekom introduced the new game at a press conference in Budapest:

"With a Europe-wide cooperation we establish a program, where the passion for games and network capabilities serve a noble cause, inviting anyone holding a mobile phone and willing to spend a few minutes serving a good cause" - said Christopher Mattheisen, CEO of Magyar Telekom.
At the event professor Kálmán János, head of the Szeged University Psychiatric Clinics said that early diagnosis and screening are - even despite current "only" symptomatic therapeutic possibilities primarily targeting thinking and behavior related problems and disorders -of huge significance, as these offer more possibilities for timely biological and social intervention, changing the lifestyle - actions already field proven in efficiently delaying the emergence of the disease and slowing the pace of deterioration.

All of the gameplay data collected will be anonymised and stored securely within T-Systems data center in Germany to ensure data integrity and data privacy according to German data security law, one of the strictest in Europe. Data are analysed by UCL (University college London), the science partner of Deutsche Telekom.

In a keynote address given at re:publica Berlin, Hans-Christian Schwingen, Deutsche Telekom's Chief Brand Officer said: "Deutsche Telekom believe in the power of sharing. We knew that there must be a way of empowering everyone to share their time to help to move us one step closer to a breakthrough in the field of dementia. At the same time, we realised that if we wanted to achieve real scale and truly make a difference, we needed to make it fun for everyone involved. We needed to create something that would get people gaming for good."

Sea Hero Quest is available globally for iOS and Android and can be downloaded now for free from the App Store and Google Play.