Here is the thing you’ve been waiting for your entire life – playing video games could save someone’s life. The Borderlands Science mini-game inside Borderlands 3 gives players a chance to help researchers sequence the DNA of foreign microbes in the human body. According to the trailer and celebrity voice over Mayim Bialik (Big Bang Theory), they make up over half of you, and we don’t really understand them. Sequencing all of these slightly similar but different microbes is a huge challenge.
This is where the humble gamer can help the people who might someday save a life. The info, collected from poop, is in the system but would take researchers forever to decode. The free Borderlands Science game asks you to play a game to match data and pushes this back to the researchers. Your matching successfully eliminates errors in the system and helps to build a better algorithm for the future. The trailer indicates that increasing our understanding here could help doctors provide better cures in the future. You’re a hero for playing games, more or less, but you knew that already.
To get started, go to Sanctuary III and locate the new arcade machine in Dr. Tannis’ infirmary. Beyond doing your good deed for the day, you’ll earn in-game currency for limited-time buffs, vault hunter heads, and skins. You can check out the official post here for more info and links to the science-y stuff such as The Microsetta Initiative for more info and dnapuzzles.org for a look at the methodology.
It seems like a great idea for a great cause, and you can tell people you’re not wasting time – you’re adding time to other people’s lives.