11.29.12

The science game that lets you fight physical pain

Last week at the London Science Museum, a new exhibition called Painless opened. It explores

...pain through the stories of extraordinary people who deal with it every day – from the patient who suffers with chronic pain in his missing limb, to the man who feels no pain at all.

How are scientists working to create the perfect pain relief? Geneticists decode DNA to find out how pain works in the body. Neuroscientists examine brain activity to discover how emotion affects how we feel pain. Researchers ask, do we really feel no pain during surgery under anaesthetic? Or do we simply not remember it? How might this affect us?

As part of the program, the museum commisioned Bristol-based digital studio Thoughtden to create a special game depicting the neurological fight against pain. Practically speaking, Ouch is very close to Missile Command, but instead of missiles, bombs and bases, you deal with placebos, painkillers, experimental treatments, pain signals, and the human brain. You can play the game in your browser here, but if you can make it to South Kensington, you can play the game in its natural element at the museum, with gestural touch-screen controls. Now, about that depdency to painkillers we're developing...