A video game to detect Alzheimer’s
Sea Hero Quest. © Deutsche Telekom.
Sea Hero Quest is a video game developed in partnership with Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, game studio Glitchers and several European universities. It is designed to identify individuals who might have early symptoms of dementia. In this mobile VR game, compatible with Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream, players have to navigate and control a virtual boat. They are given a map and shown checkpoints, which must be memorized, since the map is taken away before they start playing, and players must navigate the checkpoints by memory. Researchers involved with the project studied people who carried the APOE4 gene, which is thought to increase that person’s risk of developing dementia, as they played the game. “We found that people with a high genetic risk, the APOE4 carriers, performed worse on spatial navigation tasks. They took less efficient routes to checkpoint goals,” said professor Michael Hornberger, a member of the team.