, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 188–193 | Cite as

Facilitating Molecular Biology Teaching by Using Augmented Reality (AR) and Protein Data Bank (PDB)

  • Parviz SafadelEmail author
  • David White
Original Paper


Spatial understanding of molecules in molecular biology provides a better understanding of molecules in isolation and relation to their next elements. Augmented reality (AR) has recently been developed as a computer interface that enables the users to see the real world with virtual objects superimposed on it. We report a method that shows the use of AR and data provided from protein data bank (PDB) to facilitate the teaching of macromolecules in biology. Users can easily convert the molecules structures obtained from PDB to a 3D format and use it with an AR application to study the molecules from different perspectives. A sample of 60 college students was assigned randomly to one of two conditions namely 2D and AR. At the end of the experiment, participants completed a comprehensive test and then a satisfaction questionnaire. The results of the study showed a significant difference between 2D and AR in satisfaction, the media usability, perception, and apprehension.


AR Augmented reality PDB Biology 3D visualization DNA structure Media satisfaction Usability PyMol Blender PMV 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

I have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications & Technology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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