A new virtual reality software, named vLUME, created jointly by researchers at Cambridge University and 3D image study software enterprise Lume VR Ltd is a breakthrough in cell research. The software allows researchers to walk inside and examine individual cells, thus, could be useful for basic questions in biology and for the development of new therapeutics for diseases.
Characteristically, the software enables microscopic data of super-resolution to be viewed and examined in virtual reality. This makes the software suitable to study almost anything from individual protein to entire cells.
The details of the software are published in the publication Nature Methods.
Features of Super-resolution Microscopy facilitates Molecular Processes Research
Earlier, in 2014, Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to Super-resolution microscopy. The technique enables to obtain images at the nanoscale employing clever tricks of physics and offset the limits of light diffraction. Due to this, researchers can observe the occurrence of molecular processes. However, lack of methods to visualize and analyze this data in 3D remains a problem.
In fact, biology is in 3D. However, so far, the interaction with cellular data on a 2D computer screen in an immersive way has been difficult. It is only after the visualization of data in virtual reality that things clicked in place.
Meanwhile, the vLUME project initiated when the research team met with the founders of the enterprise at a public engagement happening at the Science Museum in London. The expertise of the former in super-resolution microscopy, and that of the latter in spatial computing and data analysis proved to be plus. The combined expertise led to the development of vLUME – a powerful tool to examine complex datasets in virtual reality.