Molecular Dynamics Visualization (MDV): Stereoscopic 3D Display of Biomolecular Structure and Interactions Using the Unity Game Engine
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Molecular graphics systems are visualization tools which, upon integration into a 3D immersive environment, provide a unique virtual reality experience for research and teaching of biomolecular structure, function and interactions. We have developed a molecular structure and dynamics application, the Molecular Dynamics Visualization tool, that uses the Unity game engine combined with large scale, multi-user, stereoscopic visualization systems to deliver an immersive display experience, particularly with a large cylindrical projection display. The application is structured to separate the biomolecular modeling and visualization systems. The biomolecular model loading and analysis system was developed as a stand-alone C# library and provides the foundation for the custom visualization system built in Unity. All visual models displayed within the tool are generated using Unity-based procedural mesh building routines. A 3D user interface was built to allow seamless dynamic interaction with the model while being viewed in 3D space. Biomolecular structure analysis and display capabilities are exemplified with a range of complex systems involving cell membranes, protein folding and lipid droplets.
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