Manipulating molecules on my new iPhone

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Sandra Porter

Some people, like Imelda Marcos and Dr. Isis have a thing for fancy shoes. I go crazy for gadgets.

For my birthday this year, my family bought me a new iPhone! Yeah! So, I've been killing several hours today filling it with cute little iPhone apps. Who knew one little phone could be so much fun? One app, I enjoy, is called Molecules. Molecules lets you download structure files from the Protein Data Bank (PDB) and play with the structures on your phone!

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Spreading your fingers makes the molecule larger.

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Working with your fingers also lets you turn the molecule around.

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It's also nice that the developer, Brad Larson, made the code available, 'cause I have all kinds of requests for improvements and new features. Here's my wish list:

  • Make the colors match the colors in Cn3D. Phosphorus should be green, not orange.
  • In Cn3D, I can add annotations, I would like to be able to view those annotations.
  • I would like to be able to see superimposed structures.
  • I would like to be able to limit the view to selected parts of the structure.
  • I would like to be able to change rendering and coloring styles.
  • Add support for mmdb formatted files. I would be fine with making annotated files in Cn3D on my desktop computer and then viewing them in Molecules.

This sort of thing must be why I hear stories about schools getting iPhones for students.