This challenge requires teams to develop an internationally useable GenomeCache app that implements augmented reality technology to deliver a highly engaging gamified experience based on the concept of walking through McMillian Park exploring the human genome.
The HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach team designed and built an app in 2012 designed to provide an educational experience on McMillian Park on the HudsonAlpha campus. The app, GenomeCache, is an exploration of the human genome using a geocaching type experience. Using permanent signage, McMillian park has been divided into the 24 chromosomes found in a human genome. Additionally, more than 150 DNA locations have permanent signs indicating the gene name and function of that location in the human genome.
Players of GenomeCache must find signs on McMillian park using a clue provided to them via the app. Once the correct sign is found, a trivia question is delivered to the player that is either based on that specific DNA location or general trivia related to genetics, genomics and biotechnology. Points are awarded for both finding the correct location and for answering the question correctly. An international leaderboard is available online.
Educators using GenomeCache on the HudsonAlpha campus have requested the ability to use GenomeCache at their schools. The approach to meet this goal was to develop a standalone website where educators could print their own signs out on paper and directions for placing them in the correct order and distance apart from one another. This has caused many educators limited ability to use the app as they are limited by the number of copies they are allowed to print in a year. A full GenomeCache printout can be as many as 200 pieces or paper making it impractical for many classrooms.