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Research@Intel, Europe: Intel shows spectacular 3D animations of molecules, DNA and viruses

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 and DiVX  movie clips here


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