We created a Virtual Reality(VR) simulation of the bacterial cell. In our VR project, the virtual environment simulates physical presence in the biology laboratory, next to an E.coli, inside an E.coli, and around DNA and proteins. What's cool about virtual reality is that you feel like you're actually there —moving your head to the right in real life will move your head to the right in the virtual world.
When the video is viewed through the oculus rift, you can feel like you are with us inside the bioloy laboratory. We hoped we could give a better sense of what a biology lab looks like and what we do inside one to those that are unfamiliar.
This is a representation of the E. Coli cell.
Entering the E. Coli cell, this is what users would see. We were experimenting with the application of VR in classrooms and other learning environments, where students could learn about bacterial cells by being inside one.
DNA double helix structure. If you turn around 180 degrees, you can read a snippet on what DNA is and what genetic manipulation is. We wondered if future lecture material could be VR based.
This is a model of the protein structure 1L2Y, with a combination of 3D modeling from PyMol. We wondered if future data analysis could use VR as a tool. Could VR reveal things that 2D screens cannot?
People enjoyed our Virtual Reality project!
NOTE: Only works on Android 4.0 and above. Phone must have gyroscope or the VR will not work. We used Android S4 to run the program.
The Cardboard provides a cheap and accessible venue to VR. The Google Cardboard can be bought for $25USD. Knock-off versions can be found for less than $5USD. You can also DIY the cardboard. The quality of the VR simulation will depend on the quality of the phone that runs the APK.
The Oculus Rift provides a more immersive, professional, and expensive experience. They can be bought for approximately $400USD. Your computer needs a good video processing card to run this program, otherwise the simulation will be choppy. We used a macbook pro to run the program.