Scientists often seem to be absorbed in dry theories and lots of highly specific details. However, when dealing with a broader public, complex information has to be reduced and made comprehensible. The visualization of cells and their biochemical processes plays an important role in science communication and popular science. Therefore, researchers have now created an interactive cell model, which allows viewers to immerse themselves in an energy-generating alga.
By Niklas Biere and Björn Sommer
When fossil resources become scarce, alternative energy sources have to be found. Green algae, like Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, could provide a solution for the production of environmentally friendly bio fuel. This is why researchers created a three-dimensional, visual model of this species, using a novel interpretative cell visualization approach.
The idea – developed by scientists with a strong background in bioinformatics, physics and modeling – was to combine different information sources (like publications, microscopic images and database information) with the aim to create a well-evaluated cell model that can be used for visualization and explorative purposes. The model was used as a basis for a stereoscopic 3D cell animation, illustrating the underlying metabolic processes to extract energy from a biological cell.
In the accompanying publication in the Journal of Integrative Bioinformatics, the researchers discuss the nature of the different information sources, the design choices involved in the process (e.g., in terms of coloring, texturing and structuring) and the overall workflow. The reader also learns about the way the flagella-based movement of the cell was animated, as well as about the special requirements for creating a stereoscopic 3D animation.
The underlying observations are relevant for content creation for virtual environments and should encourage visualization researchers to use stereoscopic 3D visualization in the context of their work, which also plays an important role in Virtual Reality-related applications.
Read the original Open Access article here:
Niklas Biere, Mehmood Ghaffar, Anja Doebbe, Daniel Jäger, Nils Rothe, Benjamin M. Friedrich, Ralf Hofestädt, Falk Schreiber, Olaf Kruse, Björn Sommer: Heuristic Modeling and 3D Stereoscopic Visualization of a Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Cell, 11.07.2018.
More information and videos at: http://Cm5.CELLmicrocosmos.org.
See also the recently published Special Issue “From Virtual Reality to Immersive Analytics in Bioinformatics”.