Scientists, researchers, and educators in the field of molecular studies will want to know about a company called Nanome. This 3D molecule simulation and collaboration company from San Diego built a VR application that uses Oculus, Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets for molecule creation at the nano to room scale level.
Nanome in VR via GIPHY
In a Medium article called “Collaborative Structure Based Drug Design in Virtual Reality”, Nanome’s CEO, Steve McCloskey says, “As we enter increasingly difficult battles with superbugs, genetic diseases, and airborne viruses, we need to work together to understand and fight back with modern technologies. To design better drugs, we need to understand the molecular structure of threats.”
Using VR technology, Nanome uses and benefits STEM learning, scientific innovation, and collaboration to push disease and scientific research as well as pharmaceutical drug discovery forward. Nanome is a molecule simulator that uses VR interface so users see and manipulate molecular, protein, and atomic structures in 3D space.
Those that download the app have access to public databases like RCSB Protein Data Bank, Drugbank, and PubChem. These allow users to import “structures of target proteins for diseases like HIV, Malaria and Ebola” onto the platform for further research and design.
Whether scientists are building the next lifesaving medicine, doing research into what’s going into our food, cosmetics, and anything else, a simulator like Nanome will undoubtedly be a cost-saving measure for labs and education. It’ll also reduce the waste of supplies and also helps scientists and researchers make errors in the lab without chipping into funding.
Collaborative VR and Blockchain
Professors, researchers, scientists, and now anyone can download their app, view molecules, and create molecular interactions in VR with two controllers and a headset. Strings of molecules that were once unseeable to the human eye without a powerful microscope can now be made larger, turned around, edited, and viewed from different perspectives.
In an additional Medium entry, McCloskey says, “Drug discovery is inherently collaborative. Insights need to be shared.” Nanome’s platform makes its content collaborative so that others can also add to, edit, and work on a project or string of molecules together no matter the location of their lab.
This gives scientific discoveries and corrections their proper attribution but also helps connect people around the world at different locations to create molecular connections digitally. Teams can also view labs in 2D spaces like on a laptop or computer monitor. This makes it easier for teams without headsets to still be involved in the process.
Since just about anyone can contribute to molecular creation and manipulation, Nanome created a system that uses blockchain to track and compensate contributors involved with specific research and development projects.
Its blockchain platform, Matryx (MTX), is behind their effort to “democratize science”. Their article says, “In the immediate future, the Matryx blockchain will serve as immutable proof of user creations.”
How do they get users to help contribute to molecular research? “VR also empowers common users, like gamers to participate in crowdsourced science challenges. At Nanome, we work to promote these challenges with social and economic gamification by integrating blockchain platforms.” says, McCloskey.