"FOLDIT IS PART of a growing trend toward citizen science: enabling ordinary people, often without formal training, to contribute to scientific research in their spare time. The range of involvement varies. Some citizen scientists donate idle time on their home computers for use in solving problems large in scale (the search for intergalactic objects, as in Einstein@home) or small (folding proteins). Other projects encourage participants to contribute small bits of data about themselves or their environments. The Great Sunflower Project, for instance, provides a platform for logging and sharing observations of pollinators like bees and wasps. Still other efforts enlist laypeople to tag and analyze images: Eyewire, for example, a game developed by Sebastian Seung ’86, Ph.D. ’90, a professor of computational neuroscience at MIT, involves participants in mapping neurons in the brain."
Via Howard Rheingold