IBM Launches Free 3D Multiplayer Virtual Science Game To Push Engineering
- By Dian Schaffhauser
IBM is launching a free multiplayer online game, challenging teenagers to help save the planet "Helios" from ecological disaster. PowerUp, which can be played alone or together, is intended to interest students in studying engineering. The game features a planet in near ecological ruin, where three missions for solar, wind, and water power must be solved before sandstorms, floods or SmogGobs thwart the rescue.
The company said in a statement that PowerUp aims to use young people's interest in fantasy virtual worlds to encourage them to learn about engineering principles by riding over rugged mountains in buggies to build solar towers or searching through grim junk yards to repair wind turbines. They will also learn about energy conservation by the choices they make in completing their missions.
"American competitiveness demands more interest in math and science by students," said Stanley S. Litow, vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs and president of IBM International Foundation. "Virtual worlds and 3D are an unexplored resource in education. We asked our best researchers to incorporate the use of this technology into traditional educational curriculum."
Nearly 200 teens in the Connecticut Innovation Academy served as advisors to IBM researchers during the game development. The TryScience team from the New York Hall of Science worked with The Tech Museum in San Jose, California and the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota on the activities and game content.
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About the author: Dian Schaffhauser covers high tech, business and higher education for a number of publications. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.