CryoVR - Virtual Reality Augmented CryoEM Hands-on Training

Date of this Version



CyroVR, CryoEM, Human-Computer Interaction, Structural Biology, Virtual Reality Training


Cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM) has revolutionized the approach to high-resolution structure determination and the study of macromolecular complexes and viruses in near-native states. However, the accessibility of the equipment, along with the time and cost required for training, significantly limit opportunities for skill acquisition. To address these issues, we are developing a comprehensive virtual reality (VR) based training system – CryoVR, preparing trainees to handle real-world CryoEM equipment. CryoVR facilitates learning of the CryoEM experimental procedure in a virtual environment, offering immersive step-by-step training through vivid visual, auditory, and textual guidance. CryoVR enables users to familiarize themselves with practical operation procedures through various training modules and receive a certificate upon passing the in-built examination mode, serving as a preparatory step before novices interact with costly real-world CryoEM equipment. According to the timeline of the CryoVR project, our team is set to complete the entire module for the Aquilos2 CryoEM sample preparation tool and integrate multi-user VR feature into the project this summer. Currently, We have completed the Aquilos2 module, added practice mode, and improved the exam mode on the basis of the existing Aquilos2 tutorial mode. Users can now practice operating the Aquilos2 equipment in the VR environment and attempt to pass the exam. They can also replay their operation process to understand any missteps or oversights. The Aquilos2 module is now ready for release. Beyond refining the Aquilos2 module, we are currently developing multi-user VR capabilities, which would allow multiple VR devices in a LAN environment to simultaneously enter the same training scenario. This feature is expected to be completed this summer. Qualitative evaluation and feedback from users with varying levels of CryoEM experience indicate the significant value of CryoVR as a comprehensive training tool for CryoEM procedures. The completion of the Aquilos2 module and the development of multi-user VR features will further aid CryoVR users in their training.