3D Cutting and FEM Deformation in Molecular Biology Experiment
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology with a wide range of applications. VR is particularly ideal for learning life science which requires a combination of understanding, conceptualization and practical experience. To extract a DNA band from the agorase gel, a precise cutting surrounding the edges of the band must be performed under an ultraviolet (UV) illuminator. Since UV light is harmful to humans, the researcher's exposed skin (faces and hands) must be protected and, at the same time, accurate gel cutting must be completed within a short period of time. To train researchers to accurately cut DNA bands out of the gel before performing the real procedure under the UV exposure, we developed a virtual reality based DNA extraction simulation system. An elastic geometrical model built specifically for cutting gel simulation was developed and presented in this thesis. A Haptics device was also used for force feedback simulation to increase the realism of the virtual environment. By simulating cutting gel and its deformation using computer graphics, the versatile software, together with various strategies such as collision detection and FEM deformation, provide users with a virtual learning environment for self practicing and testing without the risk of UV exposure during the learning period.
Xiaoli Yang, Purdue University.
Molecular biology|Computer engineering