Gamification, citizen science and civic engagement: in search of the common good

Rejane Spitz, Clorisval Pereira Jr, Leonardo Cardarelli Leite, Marcelo Pedruzzi Ferranti, Renan Kogut, Wesley Oliveira (Laboratorio de Arte Eletronica (LAE) – PUC-Rio, Brazil), Peter Dam (TecGraf- PUC-Rio, Brazil), Francisco Queiroz (Laboratorio de Arte Eletronica (LAE) – TecGraf – PUC-Rio, Brazil)


In this paper we discuss the importance of play and the growing use of playful sensing techniques as a valuable tool for participatory design initiatives which are triggering new forms of creative collaboration and civic engagement. The relevance of gamified citizen science projects as part of an emerging culture of massive collaborative initiatives that make use of crowdsourced skills is highlighted. Among other collaborative initiatives – in which users voluntarily and playfully contribute their time, effort and resources towards scientific research and civic issues – we present a project we are devising for users to enter and retrieve information on commercially available food products which contain ingredients associated with an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. Through gameplay, we expect to crowdsource an open database of potentially unhealthy food products, raising awareness among consumers about the risks of certain ingredients and artificial additives. Always tethered to our mobile gadgets and social networks, we have become a major source for – voluntarily or not – collecting and sharing all kinds of information about our universe, what calls for a more ethical, critical and meaningful use of these new potential capabilities, and greater awareness of our new civic responsibilities.


Gamification, citizen science, collaborative design, civic engagement, crowdsourcing, mobile applications, health, food products, ingredients, artificial food dyes


Gamification, citizen science and civic engagement: in search of the common good

Balance-Unbalance 2017

Balance-Unbalance (BunB)
is an International Conference designed to use art as a catalyst to explore intersections between NATURE, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY and SOCIETY as we move into an era of both unprecedented ecological threats and transdisciplinary possibilities.

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