I have an Occulus Rift DK2 that I wrote some software to convert ChIP-Seq peak/tracks to Minecraft maps, and then walk around it in 3D (which was already possible). I learnt a few things:
1) 3D on the occulus is really bad. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are just too proud to admit they paid a lot of money for a phone screen without the phone. Maybe the newer versions are better, but certainly the DK2 was awful. You can see the black lines between the pixels (the screen door effect), and the depth of the Z axis is about half of anything you might see in a 3D movie. It's a new experience, but not a particularly good one. Also it will make you throw up so much you'll think you're 21 again - particularly if you develop software on it.
2) These days it only really plays nice on Windows. Last time i checked they dropped driver support for everything else.
3) Interacting with 3D objects with a mouse and keyboard is about as much fun as interacting with a regular computer with just a scroll wheel and keyboard. Until 3D inputs like the the STEM Sixense can actually be bought (http://sixense.com), interacting with anything in 3D is like having to thread cotton through the eye of a needle, whilst the needle is constantly rotating because it inexplicably hates you.
4) There is absolutely no benefit to looking at ChIP-Seq data in Minecraft. There might be something in using biological data to create maps in games, but 2D data should stay in 2D. Even if you have 2 variables of data and a third time variable, you are better off keeping it as 2D movie than a 3D landscape. In applications like Hi-C I think there's a lot of potential, particularly if you then layer on other signals like RNA/Chip intensity as colour or volumes, but on the whole biological data does not fit 3D all that well, unfortunately. I could give a whole lecture on why, but it boils down to two things: 1) Humans don't see in 3D, they see in double-2D, and and you have to actively distort data to make it render correctly in the human brain. 2) The brain doesn't care much about the third dimension. It cares far more about colour, shape, and speed. If you want to 'see' the sense in the data, you are better off exploiting these features first.
Only in inherently 3D data is 3D really worth the time.
Also try to stay away from the terms like "augmented reality" and other such buzz words. There's a lot of undeserved hype over 3D, and really terms like augmented reality only make sense if you are a PhD student who spends so much time looking at data that you can justifiably redefine your definition of reality ;)
2.5 years ago by
John ♦ 12k