With this video game, you help Ghent University researchers in the fight against cancer: “Bring science out of the ivory tower” (Ghent)

Through games, you advance science. © Liesbeth Driesen / Eve Echoes


Anyone who plays the free “EVE Echoes” game on their smartphone or tablet will help researchers at Ghent University. The puzzles in the game are based on real scientific data. By solving it, players give cancer research, among other things, a boost.

Max Didol

In their lab in Ottergemsesteenweg, Ghent University researchers Martin Daines and Sander Willems compare complex data from millions of diseased and healthy cells. The better this is done, the easier it is to develop effective medicines. Scientists have solid computers at their disposal for this, but they have their limitations. For example, a computer has difficulty recognizing patterns. Fortunately, people are good at it.

This is why Ghent University is partnering with the game Eve Echoes, which is already played by millions of people on their smartphone or tablet. In the game, players are provided with puzzles in which they have to overlap the balls as best as possible. In fact, these bubbles are based on the data that Daines and Williams analyze. (Read more at the bottom of the screenshot)

An example of a puzzle.

An example of a puzzle. © Eve Echoes

smarter computer

There is no fixed and correct solution. But by getting thousands of people to complete the same puzzle as much as possible, scientists can actually see which patterns turn out well. Then they link the “training data” to the computer, making it smarter and better automating the search for diseased and healthy cells.

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“This project will result in very unique and interesting data,” says Professor Lennart Martins from the Center for Medical Biotechnology at Ghent University. “We will be able to make excellent use of it in the coming years. Moreover, we are bringing our research to a large audience. It is time to get science out of the ivory tower.”

Eve Echoes can be found in the App Store and Google Play Store.

Megan Vasquez

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