Research@Intel, Europe: Intel shows spectacular 3D animations of molecules, DNA and viruses
Brussels, May 4, 2010 – At the Research@Intel, Europe event Intel Labs Europe researchers demonstrated breathtaking 3D simulations of pharmaceutical agents, DNA and viruses. State-of-the-art ray-tracing enables 3D visualization of their molecular structure from any possible perspective.
Development of new drugs or analysis of chemical processes requires scientists to visualize chemical structures and shapes of their components on a molecular level. For this purpose, scientists from Saarbrücken and Tübingen (both Germany) created the free software BALLView. Now researchers at the Intel Visual Computing Institute in Saarbrücken developed a library of ray-tracing sub-routines called RTFact – and combined it with BALLView. When using complex light and shadow effects or reflections, the new combination enables a stunning level of detail while remaining fully interactive.
A solvent excluded surface of 2PTC, colored by electrostatic potential, which was obtained
from a Poisson-Boltzmann calculation (blue = positive, red = negative potential)
All visualizations are calculated using ray-tracing algorithms; special graphics effects like “ambient occlusion” or “light attenuation” help to create a strong 3D perception that enables viewers to intuitively analyze the spatial arrangement of molecules. Researchers can interact using a 3D spatial mouse to move around objects in all dimensions, or use a head-tracking device which automatically detects all head movements using an infrared signal.
RTFact also allows transparent surfaces. This is a combination of the
solvent-excluded surface of BPTI, a stick model and a backbone model.
Now chemists can virtually and interactively analyze proteins, DNA or viruses from all perspectives, zoom in from all sides and thus explore completely new structural aspects. This is especially important for improved drug design. Now drugs can be adjusted to perfectly fit into their surrounding biological system – like a key into a lock.
BALLView is available free of charge under the GPL for Linux, Windows and MacOS. You can find fascinating sample high resolution pictures here www.ballview.org/Gallery and DiVX movie clips here www.ballview.org/Movies.