A brave new world: virtual reality and augmented reality in systems biology

Turhan, Berk and Gümüş, Zeynep H. (2022) A brave new world: virtual reality and augmented reality in systems biology. Frontiers in Bioinformatics, 2 . ISSN 2673-7647

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How we interact with computer graphics has not changed significantly from viewing 2D text and images on a flatscreen since their invention. Yet, recent advances in computing technology, internetworked devices and gaming are driving the design and development of new ideas in other modes of human-computer interfaces (HCIs). Virtual Reality (VR) technology uses computers and HCIs to create the feeling of immersion in a three-dimensional (3D) environment that contains interactive objects with a sense of spatial presence, where objects have a spatial location relative to, and independent of the users. While this virtual environment does not necessarily match the real world, by creating the illusion of reality, it helps users leverage the full range of human sensory capabilities. Similarly, Augmented Reality (AR), superimposes virtual images to the real world. Because humans learn the physical world through a gradual sensory familiarization, these immersive visualizations enable gaining familiarity with biological systems not realizable in the physical world (e.g., allosteric regulatory networks within a protein or biomolecular pathways inside a cell). As VR/AR interfaces are anticipated to be explosive in consumer markets, systems biologists will be more immersed into their world. Here we introduce a brief history of VR/AR, their current roles in systems biology, and advantages and disadvantages in augmenting user abilities. We next argue that in systems biology, VR/AR technologies will be most useful in visually exploring and communicating data; performing virtual experiments; and education/teaching. Finally, we discuss our perspective on future directions for VR/AR in systems biology.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 3D; augmented reality; CAVE; immersive 3D; multi-omics visualization; systems biology; virtual reality; visualization design
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Depositing User: Berk Turhan
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2024 14:01
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2024 14:01
URI: https://research.sabanciuniv.edu/id/eprint/48641

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