Part of the March 23 PS3 firmware update lets you help find a cure for diseases like cancer

Sony PlayStation 3In August last year Stanford’s Folding@Home client was announced for Sony’s PS3 with the Graphical User Interface (GUI) shown in the below video. When you’re not using your PlayStation 3 and you can take it online, then with it you can help find a cure for cancer, Parkinson’s, and other so-far incurable diseases with the Cure@PS3 project.

PS3 owners can get involved in the Folding@Home project by downloading a firmware update, available by March 23rd, which adds a new icon to the cross media bar. When opened, Folding@Home starts processing a ‘work unit’, which is one section of an entire folding programme. While no games can be played and you can’t watch Blu-ray discs while the programme is running, you can navigate the 3D space of the molecule with the PS3 controller, like this:

After completing one ‘work unit’ the console then sends the information to Stanford’s servers next time it goes online and is given a new unit to start unraveling. The console doesn’t even need to be online while running the Folding@Home function because it automatically updates every time the console is taken online.

IGN notes that if enough PS3 owners choose to help with the initiative, it could potentially halve the time needed to complete a full gene folding simulation. We should add for clarity that when proteins do not fold correctly they cause the diseases mentioned above, since proteins are biology’s workhorses, but protein folding in many ways is a mystery to scientists. So they need the process simulated to learn how to prevent the incorrect folding that causes the many cancer-related syndromes, etc. And that’s where you come in.

If you don’t have a PS3 to help simulate the protein folding process, you can also download the Folding@Home software for your PC. Please do it. 🙂 — Via PR