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!


Spreading your fingers makes the molecule larger.


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


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.

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