Last week a University of Idaho team presented at the 25th VRST Symposium in Sydney, Australia, and won the Best Demo Award for their project “Dynamic Virtual Proteins: Visualization, Interaction and Collaboration in Virtual Reality.” In the world of virtual reality, the Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST) is among the top ten virtual reality conferences in the world.

The Dynamic Virtual Proteins project team consists of Jean-Marc Gauthier, Virtual Technology and Design Associate Professor, Jagdish Suresh Patel, Department of Biological Sciences Research Assistant Professor, and Ian McGrath, 2019 graduate of the College of Art and Architecture. The interdisciplinary research is part of a $6 million EPSCoR Track-2 grant from NSF and supported by the Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation (IMCI).

In addition to presenting at VRST 2019, the U of I team was one of six projects selected by Real Time Live, a world-wide, peer-reviewed event of SIGGRAPH Asia 2019. SIGGRRAPH is an annual conference and exhibition that attracts the most respected technical and creative people from all over the world to present cutting-edge projects on computer graphics and interactive techniques. The U of I team demonstrated their most recent project, the Virtual Protein Builder, in real time in front of an audience of more than 1200 people in Brisbane. The presentation showed the visualization of and interaction with two proteins in virtual reality. One of them, beta-lactamase, which provides resistance to antibiotics, was built in real-time in front of the live audience using virtual agents.

“The demo was very well received,” said Gauthier. “We made strong connections for future collaborations with research labs in New Zealand, Germany and Hong Kong. This was a wonderful opportunity to promote some of the research being done at the U of I.”