3D Molecule Viewer on the iPhone

July 11, 2008

Portable computing platforms like the iPhone may hold a great deal of untapped potential in science. The last five years have witnessed a sharp increase in their graphics and computational capabilities, with the iPhone setting off a new drive for ever more feature-rich and usable devices. In many lab settings, laptop computers are simply too cumbersome to be practical. A handheld device makes much more sense in these situations.

So, what can the iPhone do for chemistry?

One answer comes from Brad Larson, software developer and founder of Sunset Lake Software. His software, Molecules, can display a variety of 3D molecular representations on the iPhone. As you might expect for software running on the iPhone, the view can be manipulated with touch screen gestures like two-finger pinch to zoom. Data can be pulled directly from the PDB.

The author plans to release the Molecules source code under the BSD License, pending approval from Apple.

More information is available from Larson's blog.

Credit: Chris Swain Image Credit: K!T