Monday, November 12, 2012

Autodesk in biology - Project Sci-Viz

Autodesk is active also in areas which are apparently not related to their primary business - CAD, GIS and M&E. The newest activity confirming this is the "Project Sci-Viz" - a scientific visualization tool for biology. This is not their first activity in a similar area. Already in 1990, Autodesk founded a joint venture with Hypercube, developing and selling a molecular modeling tool for chemistry - "HyperChem" (we at CAD Studio have offered it in Czechoslovakia at that time). In 1994, HyperChem development returned back to Hypercube, where it still continues.

HyperChem (img: Shaan Hurley)

Project Sci-Viz is an add-on for Autodesk 3ds Max. Autodesk Labs has developed an API and a Python engine that allows to run tools by Olson Molecular Graphics Laboratory and UCSF in 3ds Max. The tools "embedded Python Molecular Viewer" (ePMV), AutoPack and CellPack can run directly in the user environment of a 64-bit version of 3ds Max 2013.

nuclecapsid HIV (labs: Mark Yeager)

AutoPack is a tool for dense packing of various shapes inside a given volume or on a given surface (btw, it can be used also in other areas than biology). The CellPack tool can create biological materials from "prescriptions" and pack them to realistic molecular models in the 3ds Max environment. The "molecular viewer" (ePMV) is a 3ds Max add-on allowing to easily import molecular geometry from various sources, e.g. from the Protein Data Bank.

More about Project Sci-Viz and download of this "technology preview" (expires 1.3.2013).

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