Nanotechnology, information technology  

Video game gives real-world experiences of nanomedicine

16 January 2007

London.  NanoMission is a PC-based game that educates players about basic concepts in nanoscience through real-world practical applications from microelectronics to drug delivery. It was developed by London-based computer games development studio PlayGen and global nanotechnology consultancy Cientifica in partnership with leading academic institutions.

The demo of the first module, nanomedicine, compels the player to select a suitable vehicle to deliver an anti cancer compound, and then navigate through the bloodstream to the site of the tumour, while avoiding the body’s natural defence mechanisms.

Whilst most teenage gamers are familiar with nanotechnology as a fantastic futuristic technology involving miniature robots, very few have a realistic understanding of nanotechnology, realise its impact on the world around them, or are genuinely stimulated about its possibilities. Coupled with declining numbers of physics, chemistry and engineering students, this is a major cause for concern.

“Nanomedicine is an area that has caused a great deal of excitement but has also been tragically misrepresented”, commented Cientifica CEO Tim Harper. Professor Mark Welland FRS of the University of Cambridge added, “It is extremely important that as nanotechnology is introduced into an increasing range of products the real benefits are understood by all. This game is a great example of how the positive message of nanotechnology can be disseminated to schools.”

PlayGen are relying on partnerships with organisations such as the Royal Society of Chemistry, to ensure the game meets the educational community’s requirements. The National Physical Laboratory are the latest members of the game’s scientific advisory board bringing world class expertise in the challenges of measurement at the nanoscale and use of virtual worlds for science communication and knowledge transfer.

“Working with the scientific community has enabled us to develop NanoMission based on real science rather than science fiction”, notes Kam Memarzia, PlayGen’s managing director, adding “We firmly believe computer games have a far greater role to play in today’s society, especially in promoting learning & understanding the real world around us.”

Using their innovative and entertaining method of game-based learning, PlayGen are making nanotechnology relevant, interesting and engaging, with game quality akin to current PlayStation 2 and Xbox titles, meeting young people’s expectations of console quality gaming.

Through sponsorship, PlayGen is making the PC version of the game freely available to schools and colleges, including a ‘teachers’ version containing lesson plans and online support, with the emphasis focused on UK and US science curriculum.

For more information about NanoMission, to download the demo, discuss getting involved as a sponsor or joining the educational advisory board see

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