In July, researchers asked the public for help in translating hundreds of thousands of ancient papyrus fragments in the Ancient Lives online project. On the Ancient Lives website, anyone can play a quick tutorial and then start identifying Greek characters in papyrus fragments.
Just a few days ago, gamers on the protein-folding game FoldIt solved a biological puzzle that had scientists completely baffled.
With the Internet and social media bringing large numbers of people together, there is a great opportunity for causes such as Ancient Lives and FoldIt. Games with a purpose, as these initiatives are sometimes called, harness the power of people to advance human knowledge. In return for lending our collective brainpower, we get the excitement of contributing to something meaningful and, ideally, we enjoy a fun game experience as well.
Have a free moment? Try one of these games with a purpose: