Playable Data for Human Health

Working with Free Ice Cream has been great fun, and they’ve helped us to interact with our complex data in a completely new way.  We’re looking forward to using the playable system system they’ve developed to engage policy makers in improving human health.

– Oliver Davis, MRC IEU, University of Bristol

The Brief:

The MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol have built up a draft network of the causes of human health, with over 2,400 different risk factors and diseases.

The dataset contains a huge amount of information, with interconnections so complex that it’s very difficult for the researchers who created it to work out the best ways to use it.

They want to be able to use the network to know: what combinations of policies or drug targets work best for fighting obesity, psychiatric disorders or cancer?

The Project:

We’ve been looking at playability as a way to turn this complex network into interventions that have a real impact on human health.

To give people an intuitive understanding of the network, we used a playable methodology to give people agency within it.  By giving the researchers the ability to pull levers – in this case fund a research or policy area- and look at the results of their actions, they can properly explore a dynamic system of information and its multiple externalities.

Currently optimised for touchscreen tables and 360 data domes, we are now exploring multi-user projection walls for navigating the network.