Human Biology Touching Molecules With Your Bare Hands

Discussion in 'Human Biology' started by mscbkc070904, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    A group of scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has developed a new way of looking at and interacting with molecules so small that they cannot be seen even with the world’s most powerful microscopes.

    The new technology, which combines hand-held objects with sophisticated computer displays, is called Tangible Interfaces for Structural Molecular Biology, and its creators envision it as a technology useful for both educational and scientific research.

    “We want to be able to understand, communicate, and interact with complex structures in natural ways,” explains Molecular Biology Professor Art Olson, who led the research described in this month’s issue of the journal Structure. “The easier it is to hold a biological molecule in your hands, the easier it will be to figure out what it is doing in the body.”

    By using cutting-edge three-dimensional fabricating printers that “print” solid objects out of thousands of layers of plaster or plastic, the group can construct models of proteins, DNA, and other tiny biological molecules. These models can be touched, twisted, tweaked, and tossed from person to person.

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